I was wondering when my Acronicta americana caterpillars would gain their characteristic black tufts – and I got my answer. The 3rd instar!
Aren’t they getting adorable? Their hairs seem way too long proportional to their body size, but they’ll grow into them. You can see the two sets of black tufts in the first half of the body, and one black tuft near the end. They’re not terribly obvious yet, but definitely there as black setae instead of white.
I couldn’t get a picture, but they also have interesting black/white patterns on their head capsules. Maybe soon I can find a way to brush the hair out of their eyes enough to get a good photo. This pattern will be gone as they get older and end up with totally black shiny head capsules.
New thought – I wonder if these will turn out white or yellow? Do they start out the color they’ll end up? Or could they change? We shall seeeeeee…