Lappet Moths (Lasiocampidae)

Lappet moths are a family of moths named after the distinct skin flaps present on the prolegs of the caterpillar. Their family name comes from the Ancient Greek words lasio, meaning wooly, and campa, meaning caterpillar.

List of Moths in this Family

  • American lappet moth (Phyllodesma americana)
  • Riley’s lappet moth (Heteropacha rileyana)
  • Eastern tent caterpillar moth (Malacosoma americanum)
  • Forest tent caterpillar moth (Malacosoma disstria)
  • Western tent caterpillar moth (Malacosoma californicum)
  • Lackey moth (Malacosoma neustria)
  • Dot lined white moth (Artace cribrarius)
  • Fox moth (Macrothylacia rubi)
  • Tolype moth (Tolype velleda)

Description and Identification


They are large and covered with bristles. Some specimens create nests made of silk, giving them the nickname “tent caterpillars”.


The pupa is brown and segmented, with the moth spending this stage in an egg-shaped cocoon.

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent. Female moths are larger and slower but mostly resemble their male counterparts.

Color and Appearance

When the wings are opened, they are either brown or grey. When the wings are closed, they fold into a tent shape.

Average wingspan: 2.5-6.4 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: May-August


The eggs vary in shape – some smooth and others flat. Female moths lay their eggs in clusters, covering them in a material that hardens when exposed to air.

Quick Facts

Other names Eggars, snout moths, tent caterpillars
Distribution Global
Habitat Varied; spotted in both urban and natural habitats
Lifespan of Adults A few days, though some can live for a week or two.
Host Plants Various shrubs and trees
Adult Diet Those that have mouthparts feed on nectar

Did You Know

  • There are over 2000 species belonging to this family, with possibly more yet to be discovered.