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Eastern Tent Caterpillar: May 2011

posted May 9, 2011 6:14 PM by Hester Burch

 

Eastern Tent caterpillar

 

Eastern tent caterpillar

photos copyright Hester Burch

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Malacosoma americanum

This attractive caterpillar is called an Eastern tent caterpillar. These caterpillars build nests in trees; often black cherry trees. Their collective munching can defoliate these trees but the trees rarely suffer significant damage and typically refoliate within several weeks. They are sometimes confused with the gypsy moth caterpillars (a non-native and destructive insect) because they also build nests. But the Eastern tent caterpillar is native to North America and their populations don’t tend to get out of control because many things eat them: including frogs, mice, skunks and over 60 species of birds (including -Black capped chickadees and red-winged blackbirds).

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