A mystery caterpillar appointed in dewy stars

Caterpillar on raspberry leaf

A fuzzy caterpillar, its setae (bristles) covered with many sparkling drops of dew, seen yesterday morning on a raspberry bush. This caterpillar is probably the larva of a moth in the Arctiidae which includes tiger moths, Ctenucha moths, and the familiar yellow bear and woolly bear moths.

For now this caterpillar’s identity is unknown. I am hoping to find others in the next few weeks and get more photographs. This one is feeding on raspberry but the day before I found another feeding on milkweed. That is not so strange as some members of Arctiidae are generalist feeders and even eat toxic plants on occasion to poison parasitic wasp larvae living in their bodies, a sort of insect self-medication using herbs.

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