Can you please tell me if this fuzzy critter is friend or foe? If it turns into something special like a moth or butterfly, I don’t mind it eating my leaves. Right now, it’s chowing down on my patchouli. I have more of it than I’ll ever use anyway. (Houston, TX)
Your caterpillar is that of a Virginian tiger moth. This is also sometimes called the yellow woolybear caterpillar.
The caterpillars of this moth do vary greatly from beige, yellow, rusty, brown, or black. The feed on the foliage of many plants, shrubs, and trees. They are not a pest. It is so good you will let it have a leaf or two of your patchouli…it will not cause significant damage.
The adult moth is mostly white with a couple of black dots on the wings. The abdomen of this moth is orangish-yellow along the sides with a row of black dots down the top side. These moths do come to lights. If you have one come to lights, you can sometimes get them to crawl onto your finger for better viewing.
This insect is found thru out North America.
This caterpillar is not known to cause any skin rashes.