Caterpillars are yellow and black striped and moderately covered with soft white hairs. The head is jet black, and the segment just behind the head is bright orange-yellow. Full grown larvae are about 2 inches long. Disturbed larvae bend into a distinctive U-shape.
Feeding occurs on oaks and many other hardwoods. A similar, related species occurs on walnut.
Adult moths lay eggs in June-July. Larvae feed in groups from August through September. Pupation occurs in the soil where the winter is spent. There is one generation per year.
Damage is seldom widespread in the forest, although heavily infested trees may be completely defoliated. Chemical control is only rarely needed on high value or weakened shade trees.
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