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Species Hyphantria cunea - Fall Webworm Moth - Hodges#8140

Caterpillar - Hyphantria cunea Fall Webworm - Hyphantria cunea Infested Tree - Hyphantria cunea possibly fall webworm? - Hyphantria cunea Unknown Florida Caterpillar - Hyphantria cunea A cool caterpillar - Hyphantria cunea Unknown Caterpillar - Hyphantria cunea Possible  Grammia Arge Moth Caterpillar - Hyphantria cunea
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
No Taxon (Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Spilosomina
Genus Hyphantria
Species cunea (Fall Webworm Moth - Hodges#8140)
Hodges Number
8140
Other Common Names
Fall Webworm (larva)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Phalaena cunea Drury 1773
Hyphantria cunea
Explanation of Names
CUNEA: from the Latin "cuneus" (a wedge) or "cuneatus" (wedge-shaped); perhaps a reference to the shape of the dark markings on the forewing of some individuals
Numbers
common to abundant throughout range
Size
wingspan 25-42 mm
larva length to about 25 mm
Identification
Adult: wings either all white (in northern and some southern individuals) or sparsely to heavily marked with dark grayish-brown to black spots (in many southern individuals); spots rectangular or wedge-shaped, arranged loosely in rows in basal half of wing, and in either a V-shape or more-or-less random arrangement in distal half; ventral side of prothorax and femur of foreleg with orange hairs; hindwing either all white or with one or two black spots
Larva: two distinct races - northern larvae have black head, yellowish or greenish body with dark dorsal stripe and long whitish hairs arising from black and orange tubercles located along sides (in each cluster of hairs, at least one hair is about twice as long as the others); southern larvae have orange or reddish head, yellowish-tan body with orange to reddish tubercles and brownish hair. Wagner(1) lists extremely long hairs, "greater in length than four or five body segments," as an identifying characteristic.
Range
all of United States and southern Canada plus northern Mexico
accidentally introduced from North America to Yugoslavia in the 1940s, and has since spread throughout Europe; later introduced to northern China and North Korea
Habitat
Weblike tents in branch tips where clusters of caterpillars strip foliage (by contrast, eastern tent caterpillar nests are built in tree crotches)
adults are nocturnal and attracted to light
Season
Adults fly from May to July in the north; March to August in the south (or all year in Florida)
Caterpillars are found June to September or October in the north; May to October in the south. Larva are most often noticed when they reach final instar and wander out of their home trees to find a place to pupate.
Food
About 120 species of hardwood trees have been recorded as larval hosts
in the north, common hosts include alder, apple, ash, birch, Box-Elder (Acer negundo), cherry, elm, mulberry, poplar, willow
in the south, common hosts include ash, hickory, maple, mulberry, oak, pecan, poplar, redbud, sweetgum, walnut, willow; preferences for different host plant species appear to be regional and seasonal
Life Cycle
one generation per year in the north; up to four generations in the south; up to 1,500 eggs are laid in a mass on undersurface of leaf of host plant; female covers the eggs with white hairs from her abdomen; larvae molt up to eleven times through successive instars before leaving the web to pupate; overwinters as a pupa in silken cocoon under bark flaps; adults emerge in spring
Remarks
Larvae feed on foliage throughout their development, and secrete silk which they spin into small webs. As they grow, they enlarge the webs, which can sometimes enclose the entire tree. Even severe infestations have little impact on trees because the damage occurs near the end of the annual growing season. Except in the case of ornamental trees, control is seldom necessary because the damage is generally of aesthetic rather than economic importance.

The parasitoid Psychophagus omnivorus (Pteromalidae) is a very effective natural enemy which attacks pupae. It has been reared and released for biological control of Fall Webworm.
See Also
adult Pink-legged Tiger Moth is very similar but has pink or reddish hair on foreleg femora
adult Agreeable Tiger Moth (Spilosoma congrua) has sparser and smaller spots on forewing
adult Virginian Tiger Moth (Spilosoma virginica) has wings with no or a few small spots, abdomen with yellow and black bands, and foreleg femora with yellowish-orange hair
adult Dubious Tiger Moth (Spilosoma dubia) has wings heavily spotted with black
adult Vestal Tiger Moth (Spilosoma vestalis) has unspotted wings and foreleg femora with red hair
adult Satin Moth (Leucoma salicis; Lymantriidae) has unspotted satin white wings, grayish-black abdomen, and legs with alternating black and white marks
Print References
Caterpillars of Eastern Forests (2)
Caterpillars of Eastern North America (1)
Internet References
live adult images of all-white and dark-spotted individuals, plus two larval color forms (Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa)
pinned adult image of all-white specimen (CBIF)
pinned adult image of all-white specimen, plus description, flight season, food plants (Jeff Miller, Macromoths of Northwest Forests and Woodlands, USGS)
pinned adult images of all-white and dark-spotted specimens (Dale Clark, Texas)
pinned adult images of all-white and dark-spotted specimens, plus web in tree (James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
images of all life stages and description of both larval races, plus food plants (U. of British Columbia)
many images of all life stages and tree damage photos by various photographers (forestry images.org)
photos of all life stages plus biology and seasonality (Canadian Forest Service)
live larva image plus description, food plants, seasonality (David Wagner and Valerie Giles, Caterpillars of Eastern Forests, USGS)
occurrence in Europe plus several images and use of parasitoid in biological control (Alexei Sharov, U. of Vermont)
Works Cited
1.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.
2.Caterpillars of Eastern Forests
David L. Wagner, Valerie Giles, Richard C. Reardon, Michael L. McManus. 1998. U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.