"Woolly Bears" - Berks County, PA
Giant Leopard Moth
Hypercompe (Ecpantheria)  scribonia

This caterpillar was found crawling across the driveway in October, 2005 at my lot, Fleetwood, Pa. The larva eats many different herbaceous and woody plants. It will over winter in a protected place and pupate in the spring. The adult shown here eclosed (emerged from the pupa) June 19, 2004 from a larva found in the spring of 2004.

The caterpillar is usually seen crawling across roads and other pavements in the fall looking for a place to spend the winter or in the spring looking for a place to pupate. When disturbed, it rolls into a ball and the red inter segmental rings show. Hairs are stiff and all about about the same length. Our largest "woolly bear" like caterpillar. Native to PA.

This is not the true woolly bear.

Note: A smaller moth with a similar name, the leopard moth (Zeuzera pyrina), has solid spots and is an introduced species from Europe. Its caterpillar does not look similar to the woolly bear and has only a few bristles per segment. It bores into the wood of several tree species. This introduced species has been found in apple trees in Berks County.

Larva
Adult moth
Same larva curled-up and showing red rings
Live moth recently eclosed.
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Prepared by Karl R. Gardner  -  November 19, 2005
New genus name - November 23, 2011
Add live moth photo - October 23, 2012
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