Posted on October 13, 2022October 13, 2022Photo of the Day During autumn, fuzzy caterpillars crossing roads and trails are a familiar sight throughout the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed. In oak-hickory forests you may encounter the stunningly beautiful Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae) caterpillar, but don’t touch it; the spine-like bristles are mildly venomous. Some people react with skin irritation and rashes after contact. This native species rarely defoliates its host trees. When it does, it’s usually just weeks before the deciduous leaves would fall, so the overall health of the plant is little affected. To balance the population, there are numerous avian and terrestrial predators that feed upon both the larval and adult stages of the Hickory Tussock Moth.