What’s that yellow, hairy thing on my porch?

I never know what I’ll find on my porch – possums, raccoons, a chipmunk hiding inside a shoe, bird feathers, cat vomit, hornets nest, ants drowned in the hummingbird feeder, a dead mouse on the doormat. The cats rule the porch except when other animals come to steal their food, then they act as if they never cared for the food in the first place.

Today, I found this fuzzy, lemon-colored creature crawling along the handle of a basket.

American dagger moth caterpillar

American dagger moth caterpillar

It looks like you could touch it and stroke its fluffy “fur.” But these American Dagger Moth caterpillars (Acronicta americana) are best left alone. Handling them might cause an allergic reaction. Despite their brilliant yellow color in their caterpillar incarnation, they do not turn into some fancy butterfly – just a big brown moth.

But while they are caterpillars, they do flaunt their beauty, don’t they?!

American dagger moth caterpillar upside down

About Beauty Along the Road

A blog about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations.
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31 Responses to What’s that yellow, hairy thing on my porch?

  1. Wow, what a cool critter! I don’t think I’d be tempted to touch it though, just because I don’t like to touch any worm-like creatures. But it sure is amazing to look at, and your pictures are wonderful. 🙂


  2. Loca Gringa says:

    I was wondering what the heck the cover photo was 🙂


  3. de Wets Wild says:

    What an exotic-looking caterpillar, Annette! I can imagine that many people, especially kids, try to pick it up out of ignorance, and then are very sorry that they did?


  4. Tish Farrell says:

    Now that is really something, Annette. What a glorious critter, and much to be preferred to the rat that is currently harvesting my terrace pots of carrots.


  5. jpeggytaylor says:

    This caterpillar looks amazing! It looks like a ball of fuzzy wool 🙂 … but that is the problem with hairy caterpillars, some of them can be real nasties – I was reading recently that the toxic Puss Caterpillar of the Southern Flannel Moth had been found in Florida.


  6. Tina Schell says:

    Huh, first time I”ve ever seen a caterpillar that’s prettier BEFORE it changes! Thanks for sharing Annette!


  7. blueberriejournal says:



  8. I’m rather attracted to this fuzzy-wuzzy chartreuse-y creature. What does it feed on, Annette, do you know?


  9. Life holds such a lot of amazing mysteries, it never ceases to amaze.


  10. lolaWi says:

    My first time to see this kind of caterpillar! It is beautiful. Great capture, Annette! 🙂


  11. Annette, at first glance the caterpillar looks like a knitted masterpiece in the making, along with the knitting needles. 🙂


  12. It’s beautiful! And great pictures showing us just how beautiful it is!


  13. mpejovic says:

    We have some fuzzy caterpillars here too (not as much as this one, and black), and yes, they are very painful to the touch. I’ve made the mistake to touch one once and I hurt for several hours. This one looks alienish, I’ve never seen anything like it. Great surprise guest!


    • Ouch – I never touch caterpillars because I don’t know the difference between the harmless ones and those that sting. This was definitely a surprise visitor!


      • mpejovic says:

        I tell my kids to stay away from all fuzzy caterpillars because they are all poisonous. But I know that some non-fuzzy ones are too, so it’s a bit confusing. The one I touched was actually in my gardening glove and I never saw it. My son touched one too by mistake when he was younger. Ouch!


  14. Tamar says:

    I just ran across your beautiful images of this caterpillar! I think you have a Spotted Apatlodes Moth (Apatelodes torrefacta) here, not an American Dagger Moth. The lashes (dark long hairs) are in different arrangement and the body color is different as well. http://bugguide.net/node/view/4765

    Liked by 1 person

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