Forest Tent Caterpillars

Subject: Under the motorhome
Location: East Texas
April 4, 2015 6:31 pm
We just spent the past five months in an RV park near Miami FL. On the way home to CA, we stopped in Livingston TX. We were here for a week when this afternoon I found this infestation of caterpillars around the front of the RV and no where else in the area.
My questions:
What are they?
Did I bring them from FL to TX?
Is this a problem?
Signature: Frank Liberty

Forest Tent Caterpillars
Forest Tent Caterpillars

Dear Frank,
These are Forest Tent Caterpillars,
Malacosoma disstria, which we quickly identified on BugGuide, and while we cannot say for certain that you did not transport them from Florida to Texas, we believe it is highly unlikely.  According to BugGuide, they are found in both Florida and Texas, and they can be distinguished from other Tent Caterpillars based on this BugGuide description:  “Larvae: dark-gray to brownish-black background body color, highlighted by broad, pale-blue lines and thin, broken yellow lines extending along each side; dorsum of each abdominal segment has distinct whitish keyhole or shoeprint-shaped marking; body has fine, whitish, and sparsely distributed hairs.”

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