Tent Caterpillar Moths (Malacosoma)
The tent caterpillar moths are a genus belonging to the family of snout moths. They are found in North America and named after the larva’s ability to construct tents out of webbing.
List of Species in this Genus
- Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth (Malacosoma americanum)
- Western Tent Caterpillar Moth(Malacosoma californicum)
- Ground Lackey Moth (Malacosoma castrense)
- Forest Tent Caterpillar Moth(Malacosoma disstria)
- Southwestern Tent Caterpillar Moth(Malacosoma incurva)
- Lackey Moth (Malacosoma neustria)
- Sonoran Tent CaterpillarMoth (Malacosoma tigris)
- Malacosoma laurae
- Malacosoma alpicolum
- Malacosoma constrictum
- Malacosoma franconicum
- Malacosoma luteum
- Malacosoma parallellum
- Malacosoma primum
Description and Identification
Most species of these moths are brightly colored in this stage and spin communal webs in the shape of tents. They are very social, releasing a pheromone that serves as a trail to identify one another.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.
Color and Appearance
Forewings: When opened, they are light yellow to dark brown, with pale or dark straight lines running along the wings. When closed, the markings remain visible.
Hindwings: When opened, they are similar in appearance to their forewings. However, there are no markings on them. When closed, they remain completely hidden.
Average wingspan: 2.2-4.4 cm
Flight pattern: Erratic
Season: Late Spring to early summer
When they mature, the larva begins to pupate inside a dense cocoon that looks like parchment.
Females lay eggs in a shiny mass. The moths will overwinter in this stage, emerging in the spring.
|Distribution||The United States and southern Canada|
|Habitat||Deciduous woodlands, edges, gardens, roadsides, and tree yards|
|Lifespan of Adults||5 days|
|Predators||Birds, frogs, mice, parasitoid wasps, and skunks|
|Host Plants||Basswood, cherry, maple, and plum|
|Adult Diet||Does not feed|
Did You Know
- German entomologist Jacob Hübner first described this genus in 1820.