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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum)

JPG-Photo of Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Orange to black with continuous, yellow-white, middorsal stripe. Bluish spots above spiracles. Setae orange-yellow. Head black. Young caterpillars fashion tent of white silk into which they retreat when not feeding; as caterpillars mature, tent gradually enlarged. Larvae wander considerable distances before spinning yellowish white, powdery cocoons, and affixing them to sides of houses, mailboxes, and other unwelcome sites. Food: cherries and related plants, especially in early instars; later wandering onto other deciduous trees and shrubs. Caterpillar: April to June; 1 generation.

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