Found this afternoon on the leaves of a large canna lily in the garden was this spectacular caterpillar of the White-marked Tussock Moth (Orgyia leucostigma) … such a gorgeous creature, but not one you want to touch as those setae are very brittle, stick in your skin and “inject” a rather painful allergenic and irritant liquid.
Why it was on the canna lily one can only speculate. They have 140 or so known food plants but all are woody plants and do not include the canna … it probably emerged from an egg on one of our hemlock trees and drifted over on the wind which is their main means of dispersal. The adult moths are rather nondescript, brown and boring but this fellow is beautiful. The red end is the head