Caterpillars are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long when fully grown and have a base color of yellow. Longitudinal white, reddish brown, or sometimes black stripes mark the body. The head is usually orange or brick red, as is the fourth body segment, which is distinctly humped and has two prominent, black tubercles (spines). Each body segment also has less distinctive black tubercles. Caterpillars rest with their hind end elevated.
The pupa is reddish brown, a little more than 1/2 inch long, and enclosed in a silken cocoon in the soil or in the layer of organic debris covering the soil.
Adult moths have a wingspan of 1 to 1 3/8 inches. The forewings are reddish to grayish brown and often are darkest along the hind margin. The hind wings are off white to light gray or brown.
DAMAGE: Upon hatching, caterpillars feed in groups on lower leaf surfaces and skeletonize the leaves. As the larvae become larger, they tend to disperse and consume the entire leaf, leaving only the tough, woody veins. When infestation is light, larvae eat leaves on only a few branches, but occasionally a heavy infestation develops that defoliates entire trees.