Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

  Sighting 1217242

Western sheepmoth
Hemileuca eglanterina

Observation date: July 14, 2019
Submitted by: Scott Burgess
Specimen type: Photograph
Observation notes: Two H. eglanterina larvae found only a few yards apart on the trail. The first depicted has just molted, hence the bright yellow bristles and red head/feet. The shed skin is defocused lower right. When I passed through about two hours later, the coloration had normalized to the usual for this species. The specimen was restless, twitching a bit, suggesting it may have infecting wasps. This specimen was in a willow tree, with no visible eating nearby, so I returned it to a Ceanothus bush a few feet away. The second specimen was on low herbs and appears to have tried eating them as seen in the photo. If you look closely, the rear tubercles show damage. It too may have wasp larva in it, or the damage could have come from a bird or animal (I think the former more likely, since the tubercles look more like the hairs are falling out than anything poking it). I returned this to Ceanothus as well. A mile or so before this meadow I saw my first H. eglanterina on the wing in this area--it was mostly black, with only small pink and yellow marks, suggesting shastensis may be the dominant subspecies here.
Status: Resident
Verified by: jwileyrains
Verified date: February 23, 2022
Coordinator notes: None.
Checklist region(s): United States, California, Humboldt County