We found a caterpillar crawling on our umbrella and have never seen one like it. It was about 1/1/2″ long, black and yellow, white tufts, red spot behind the head and 4 white fan like appendages on the back. Found in Haliburton, Ontario. I would appreciate it if someone can identify what type of caterpillar it is. Thank you.
Your caterpillar is a white-marked tussock moth, so it turns into a moth. Tussock moths are in the Lymantriidae family.
Some folks are allergic to the hairs so be careful around this caterpillar.
The female moths of this insect are wingless and therefore flightless. The males are brownish with distinct markings. Females lay eggs that overwinter.
The caterpillars come out in the spring feeding on a wide range of trees including birch, black locust, cherry , elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, willow and many others.
This is a common caterpillar to see over eastern US to TX and Canada.