Western Tent Caterpillars are found all over RRC on the Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata) from late February to early March.
We found this caterpillar on the way to the dunes. It likes to "hide" on plants as soon as they find a shelter they spin their cocoon.
On an ornamental shrub.
I am seeing these everywhere! These were high up, and other groups of caterpillars on the same scouler's willow were even more densely gathered. Some it seemed were twitching and dancing in the sunlight. It was kind of off-putting.
This was around 5:30PM.
Very fuzzy exterior with black, orange, and white coloration. Some I have found alone on shrub leaves as well.
These Malacosoma fragilis, or Malacosoma californicum, aka Western Tent Caterpillars were squirming together on a Nootka Rose bush close to the beach. They are now about half an inch long. Last year in this area there was a terrible infestation of these caterpillars, destroying a lot of fruit and vegetation.