Saltmarsh caterpillar—Estigmene acrea
Adult moths have a wing expanse of 5 to 6.5 cm. The female
is white, except for an orange abdomen with black lateral
and dorsal spots and black spots on the wings. Hind wings
of males are orange instead of
white. Caterpillars are very hairy with conspicuous tufts
of long hair on each segment.
Young larvae feed in groups on the underside of leaves; leaf veins and the leaf surface remain intact.
Older larvae feed independently, eating through leaves and leaving the foliage ragged.
The saltmarsh caterpillar has many natural
enemies and seldom requires special control practices. Bacillus
thuringiensis or spinosad are effective
against very small caterpillars.