A moth or butterfly?
June 8, 2010
Dear fellow bug people:
I’ve been trying to grow a butterfly garden so that I may start one in our school next year. I teach first grade and the students love them. I walked into my back yard and found about 9 groups of these little guys on a tree I did not plant (go figure!). Anyway I believe they are moth caterpillars. It would be nice to know more. I would love to know what they are and if I can bring some into the classroom without my lil people getting hurt. I could not get a closer picture without ‘bugging’ them 🙂 Hope you can help me!
Saymith Morales – First Grade Teacher
Though your photo is quite blurry and lacking in detail, we have little doubt that this is these are Eastern Tent Caterpillars, Malacosoma americanum. They are moth caterpillars, and they could easily be brought into the classroom for your first grade students to learn about metamorphosis, but we think other species might be more appropriate. BugGuide provides information on the species, but directs viewers to another website for details about the life cycle. Adult moths are a drab brown, and they are not the most dramatic conclusion to metamorphosis, but they will still provide a valuable learning experience.