Eastern Tent Caterpillar

I remember, as a small person, gathering these up by the dozens and keeping them in a jar for a few hours, marveling at them. Anyone who grew up in the eastern United States remembers eastern tent caterpillars, which form a huge, white silken tent in the branches of trees where they’re eating, occasionally gathering in numbers large enough to defoliate the tree, and then wander all over the landscape looking for places to pupate, often accidentally getting stepped on or otherwise squashed.

Malacosoma americanum isn’t actually harmful; it’s just everywhere, like love bugs down in Florida, and that makes it memorable. It grows into a rather unassuming small brown moth.

Closely related to the forest tent caterpillar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *