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Forest Tent Caterpillar by Joe Pase, Texas Forest Service - SFIWC 2002 Photo Salon Series - Second Place


6 Images
1150087
Herbert A. 'Joe' Pase III
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Egg masses typically encircle a small branch and the larvae hatch in the early spring as the leaves are unfolding from their buds.

1150086
Herbert A. 'Joe' Pase III
None

The larvae don’t construct a characteristic tent like the eastern tent caterpillar. Instead, they construct silk webbing that lies flat on the surface of the tree’s trunk and branches. The colorful larvae are easily identified by the "keyhole" or "footprint" pattern on their dorsal surface.

1150085
Herbert A. 'Joe' Pase III
None

As the larvae grow, they molt as a group and a concentration of cast larval skins can often be found.

1150089
Herbert A. 'Joe' Pase III
None

The larvae don’t construct a characteristic tent like the eastern tent caterpillar. Instead, they construct silk webbing that lies flat on the surface of the tree’s trunk and branches. The colorful larvae are easily identified by the "keyhole" or "footprint" pattern on their dorsal surface

1150088
Herbert A. 'Joe' Pase III
None

The larvae feed on sweetgum, tupelo gum, black gum, and various species of oak.

1150084
Herbert A. 'Joe' Pase III
None

The forest tent caterpillar occurs throughout the eastern United States and is a defoliator of a wide variety of hardwood trees. This is the tent caterpillar that does not make a tent! There is one generation per year and the insect overwinters in the egg stage. An unusual outbreak of the forest tent caterpillar occurred in East Texas in the spring of 2002 where some 125,000 acres of bottomland mixed hardwood forest were moderately defoliated. Because they do not defoliate all the trees in mixed deciduous stands, light defoliation may be difficult to see from the air. Moderate defoliation shows up from the air as a gray-green color.