This bristly caterpillar was found feeding on an Indigo Bush in Death Valley National Park. It is quite distinctive and I am hoping it will be an easy ID.
Your caterpillar is a Burns’ buckmoth. It is in the Saturniidae family which is the silk moths.
The moth lays eggs in the fall, which then overwinter and hatch in February or March. The small caterpillars tend to stay together but then spread out. Full grown caterpillars wander around to find loose sandy soil or plant debris to pupae in.
These caterpillars feed on indigo bush as you saw as well as lonspine horsebrush, littlelieaf horsebrush, and desert almond.
The adult moths do not feed.
These insects are found in the Mojave Desert, southern Nevada, SW Utah, and NW AZ.
Interesting find! Thanks for sharing.