|Pine Tussock Moth
||Hugh D. McGuinness
State Rarity Rank:
Global Rarity Rank:
Did you know?
Tussock moth caterpillars often are covered with tufts of red, yellow, and black hair. As in other caterpillars, such colors warn of danger. Many people are allergic to the body hair of tussock moth caterpillars, especially if the hairs are brought into contact with eyes or sensitive areas of skin (Wagner et al. 1997).
|State Ranking Justification||
Currently, in New York State, the Pine Tussock Moth is known from only one location- the dwarf pine plains on Long Island. This species feeds on the foliage of pitch pine, which is the dominant tree species in that area.
This species appears to be relatively stable over the past decade. The presence of this species over multiple years at the dwarf pine plains site on Long Island indicates that the population is viable and reproducing. There was a significant increase in population numbers in 2005 in areas that were unburned by the large forest fire of 1995. This species requires pitch pine forests or woodlands rather than pitch pine-scrub oak barrens that dominate a landscape after an intense fire such as the forest fire in 1995.
The long-term trend for this species is tied to the long-term trend of the natural community it lives in. The acreage of dwarf pine plains in New York has declined from development, although there is still a large occurrence of this habitat type on Long Island.