What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what kinda Caterpillar is this?
Location: Lincoln, Alabama
April 16, 2011 5:41 pm
what kinda Caterpillar is this? found
4-16-11 in a bush!
Signature: what does that mean? my names hannah?

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Dear Hannah,
This is an Eastern Tent Caterpillar,
Malacosoma americanum.  We located a nice web page on the biology of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar which includes this information about the tent:  “The tent of the eastern tent caterpillar is among the largest built by any tent caterpillar. The tents are constructed in the crotch of the host tree and are typically oriented so that the broadest face of the structure faces the southeast, taking advantage of the morning sun.  The caterpillars typically add silk to the structure at the onset of each of their daily activity periods.  Silk is added directly to the surface of the tent as the caterpillars walk back and forth over the surface of the structure.The silk is laid down under slight tension and it eventually contacts, causing the newly spun layer of silk to separate from the previously spun layer.  The tent thus consists of discrete layers separated by gaps within which the caterpillars rest.
The tent has openings that allow the caterpillars to enter and exit the structure.  Openings are formed where branches jut from the structure but are most common at the apex of the tent.  Light has a great effect on the caterpillars while they are spinning and they always spin the majority of their silk on the most illuminated face of the tent.  Indeed, if under laboratory conditions the dominant light source is directed at the tent from below, the caterpillars will build their tent upside down.  Caterpillars continue to expand their tent until they enter the last phase of their larval life.  The sixth-instar caterpillar conserves its silk for cocoon construction and adds nothing to the tent.
The tents appears multifunctional.  They facilitate basking, offer some protection from enemies, provide for secure purchase, and act as a staging site from which the caterpillars launch en masse forays to distant feeding sites. The elevated humidity inside the tent  may facilitate molting.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Alabama

2 Responses to Eastern Tent Caterpillar

  1. Jamie Greenfield says:

    i have found these around where i live there is a tree around the corner from me with all these silk nest (maybe 20) will they become butterflies?

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