Fun Banded Tussock Moth Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Insect enthusiasts enjoy reading banded tussock moth facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

Moths can seldom appear interesting to us, but insects are definitely something that we should learn about. The banded tussock moth (Halysidota tessellaris) is a beautiful moth hailing from different areas of North America. It is also known as the pale tiger moth and comes from the order Lepidoptera. An adult moth is covered with dense yellow hair and has beautiful cream or yellow-colored wings. On the other hand, the caterpillars are also quite beautiful. A caterpillar may come in different shades of brown or yellow and has a hairy appearance because of their bristles. These caterpillars are mainly found on deciduous trees and are harmless to plants. A prolific population of these caterpillars lives on the eastern side of the United States, especially in Florida.

Are you interested to learn more about banded tussock moth facts? Keep reading to find fascinating things about the life of these moths. Also, check out our articles on gypsy moth and luna moth.

Banded Tussock Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a banded tussock moth?

The banded tussock moth (Halysidota tessellaris) is a type of moth from the tiger moth group.

What class of animal does a banded tussock moth belong to?

Banded tussock moths (Halysidota tessellaris) belong to the class Insecta, to the order Lepidoptera, and to the family Erebidae.

How many banded tussock moths are there in the world?

As this species is prolifically found in North America, it is hard to note the total population of this moth.

Where does a banded tussock moth live?

Banded tussock moths belong to North America, and are most commonly found in the eastern regions of the United States. The range is from the southern part of Canada to central Florida.

What is a banded tussock moth's habitat?

An adult banded tussock moth is found in deciduous forest. These moths are often attracted to artificial bright light. The banded tussock moth caterpillar can be found on plants such as alder ash birch, blueberry, chestnut, oak, walnut, willow, elm, hackberry, grape, and hazel.

Who do banded tussock moths live with?

A banded tussock moth becomes solitary when it turns into an adult moth. However, a banded tussock moth caterpillar or larva may often stay on the same plant as its siblings.

How long does a banded tussock moth live?

Banded tussock moth caterpillars feed on plants for a period of four to six weeks, after which the larvae turn into pupae, a stage that lasts for about two weeks. The flight period of adults lasts for two to three weeks after which adult moths die.

How do they reproduce?

April to early May is the time when adults have their flight. Males approach female moths, and after mating, a female adult moth lays its eggs on the back of leaves. The eggs are laid as a mass and they have a hairy texture. The most interesting thing about a banded tussock moth has to be the larvae which are called caterpillars. Generally, the eggs remain without any activity until the winter is over. A banded tussock moth goes through several developmental stages before forming into an adult. Moths living in the north generally have one generation every year, while the species living in the south can have two to three generations. The stages of life for a moth are egg, larva, pupa, and adulthood.

What is their conservation status?

Banded tussock moths are not given a status by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and do not feature on the Red List of Threatened Species. According to the NatureServe conservation scale, the current status of the banded tussock moth is in the G5 level which stands for secure.

Banded Tussock Moth Fun Facts

What do banded tussock moths look like?

The banded tussock moth caterpillar is one of the most interesting animals that you will come across. The bristles on the body of these caterpillars look almost like hairs. However, it would be best if you did not touch them as they can cause skin irritation. The color of these caterpillars can range from orange to yellow to brown to a pale yellow. There are extra bristles located on the head of caterpillars, which almost look like eyebrows. A dark brown or black dorsal line is also seen on these caterpillars.

Banded tussock moth adults are also quite beautiful and their bodies are covered with dense yellow hairs. The thorax section of adults also has turquoise, yellow, or orange and white horizontal stripes. These moths have a long and slender forewing that is either pale yellow or cream-colored. Some dark wavy bands are present on the wings in an almost rectangular pattern. Adult moths have thin yellow-colored legs. An adult banded tussock moth looks quite similar to a sycamore tussock moth.

Banded tussock moth facts are interesting to read.

How cute are they?

This moth and caterpillar species have a spectacular and colorful appearance but they cannot be termed as cute.

How do they communicate?

The most common form or mode of communication used by moths is with the help of pheromones. Through its ability to smell, male moths often find female moths to mate with. Scientists have also noted that moths may communicate via low-frequency ultrasounds.

How big is a banded tussock moth?

The average size of a banded tussock moth is 0.9-1.3 in (23-35 mm). The majority of its length comes from its wingspan.

How fast can banded tussock moths fly?

The average speed of these moths is around 33 mph (54 kph) but it can definitely fly faster in certain situations.

How much does a banded tussock moth weigh?

No conclusive data about a banded tussock moth's weight can be found.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for males and females of this moth species that come from the tiger moth family.

What would you call a baby banded tussock moth?

A baby banded tussock moth is called a 'caterpillar' during its larvae stage.

What do they eat?

A banded tussock moth caterpillar lives on plants like alder ash birch, blueberry, chestnut, oak, walnut, willow, elm, hackberry, grape, and hazel. The larvae also uses the foliage of these plants as their primary food source. On the other hand, an adult pale tiger moth depends on nectar as its main food source. The caterpillar doesn't damage the plants that it lives on. Adults are attracted to decaying plants with the compound pyrrolizidine alkaloids. They chomp on plants and regurgitate them to feed on the liquid.

Are they dangerous?

No, banded tussock moths aren't dangerous. However, adult moths do retain alkaloid compounds by drinking them from certain decaying plants. This means that animals that eat these moths may face unpleasant reactions.

Would they make a good pet?

Not really, it is best to avoid keeping this species as your pet as it is a wild insect.

Did you know...

You can use a very simple soap and water solution to get rid of banded tussock moth caterpillars. Using neem oil on plants might also help.

What is a banded tussock moth caterpillar?

A banded tussock moth caterpillar has a body that is covered in bristles that resemble hairs. Some caterpillars have bright orange heads. After living as a caterpillar for up to four weeks, it moves into the pupa stage and covers itself with a gray cocoon. A banded tussock moth caterpillar is not poisonous, however a banded tussock moth caterpillar sting may give you an itchy rash, so it is best to handle it with gloves.

Do you need to get rid of banded tussock moth caterpillars?

Banded tussock moths have no said benefits to human beings, but adults do help to spread pollen while they fly. Even though a banded tussock moth caterpillar live on plants, no great harm is done to the plants. This means that there is no need to get rid of these caterpillars if you spot them on your plants.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including morpho butterfly, or damselfly.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Banded Tussock Moth coloring pages.

Banded Tussock Moth Facts

What Did They Prey On?

N/A

What Type of Animal were they?

Herbivore

Average Litter Size?

N/A

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

What habitat Do they Live In?

deciduous woods

Where Do They Live?

north america

How Long Were They?

0.9-1.3 in (23-35 mm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Insecta

Genus

Halysidota

Family

Erebidae

Scientific Name

Halysidota tessellaris

What Do They Look Like?

Yellow

Skin Type

Hair

What Are Their Main Threats?

n/a

What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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