Tent Caterpillar – 6/4/11

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/4/11

Observation Time: 3:50 p.m.

Observation Location: conservation land near Billings Street

Common Name: Tent Caterpillar

Scientific Name: Malacosoma americanum

Comments: The moths oviposit almost exclusively on trees in the plant family Rosaceae, particularly cherry (Prunus) and apple (Malus). The adult moth lays her eggs in a single batch in late spring or early summer. An egg mass contains about 200 to 300 eggs. Tent caterpillars are among the most social of larvae. The newly hatched caterpillars initiate the construction of a silk tent soon after emerging. They typically aggregate at the tent site throughout their larval stage, expanding the tent each day to accommodate their increasing size. The caterpillars feed three times each day, just before dawn, at midafternoon, and in the evening after sunset. During each bout of feeding, the caterpillars emerge from the tent, add silk to the structure, move to distant feeding sites en masse, feed, and then return immediately to the tent where they rest until the next activity period.

More Information: Wikipedia

Tent Caterpillar