Habitat: from Tennessee northward to the Canadian border
Status: Not listed
At first glace, you might think that these fuzzy white things are pieces of fluff that fell off of a cotton plant. Then, you might say, hmm… that can’t be right… wait a sec, that looks like a caterpillar!
You’d be getting on the right track, but still, not exactly. These are actually Butternut Woolyworms (Eriocampa juglandis) which are the larvae of a species of sawfly.
Unfortunately, they don’t stay so sweet and cuddly looking. They will eventually crawl down into the soil and form a pupa where they will silently wait until they transform into their adult fly versions. The white strings are waxy filaments that deter predators from making a quick meal out of the larvae.
I think they do look friendly as babies, though. 🙂