Anisota stigma

These voracious insects are native to the Eastern United States, from New England to Florida, and can be found as far west as Texas. The moths are a red-brown in color, with black specks and a single white dot on each of the forewings, which range from four to six cm in span. They appear in late June or early July, and lay clusters of hundreds of eggs in a single layer high in trees on the underside of broadleaf foliage. In one or two weeks, the eggs hatch, and the white, grublike larvae begin defoliating the leaves of their host plant.

In the early larval stage, the caterpillars feed in groups, devouring the leaves of an entire branch before moving to the next. As the larvae grow, they change in color from white to reddish, and their spines grow darker, eventually to black. They also spread out on their own, and can often be found on lawns, and even in houses. They eventually attain a length of about 5 cm. They continue to feed for about six weeks, before digging burrows in the soil, where the black pupae will winter over.

Generally, natural predators (birds, wasps, and other parasites and predators) keep spiny oakworm populations in control, and since most of the feeding period occurs in the Autumn, the species is only a significant (and really only aesthetic) threat in urban areas, where bird populations are lower, and trees are less plentiful. The oakworm eats only the leaves of trees, not damaging bark or branches, so in a natural habitat, they pose no serious environmental threat, and are a key link in many forest food chains.

this information, plus pictures, can be found at:

for DejaMorgana
and wertperch