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Species Malacosoma disstria - Forest Tent Caterpillar Moth - Hodges#7698

Forest Tent Caterpillar Moth - Malacosoma disstria Colony of Caterpillars? - Malacosoma disstria Malacosoma disstria - male caterpillar on birch leaf - Malacosoma disstria Forest Tent Caterpillar (with an Eastern Tent Caterpillar) - Malacosoma disstria Forest Tent Caterpillar - Malacosoma disstria Lappet Moth - Malacosoma disstria - male Lasiocampidae: Malacosoma disstria - Malacosoma disstria
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 Lasiocampoidea
Family Lasiocampidae (Tent Caterpillar and Lappet Moths)
Subfamily Lasiocampinae
Tribe Lasiocampini
Genus Malacosoma
Species disstria (Forest Tent Caterpillar Moth - Hodges#7698)
Hodges Number
7698
Size
wingspan 25-45 mm
larvae length to 64 mm
Identification
Adult: stout-bodied; forewing light brown with two darker, thin parallel lines extending across mid-portion, the area between often being dark and appearing as a single broad, dark band
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
Range
throughout most of United States and southern Canada but more common east of Mississippi River
Habitat
on or near host tree species
Season
Adults usually fly from April to July (as early as February in Florida). Caterpillars typically April-June.
Food
larvae feed on leaves of alder, basswood, birch, cherry, oak, poplar, willow
Life Cycle
One generation per year; larvae spin silken mats on tree trunks and large branches where they congregate to molt or rest from feeding; larvae also deposit silk in strands along which they travel to and from feeding sites; overwinters as larva in masses surrounding tree branches. (Unlike Eastern Tent Caterpillar, this species does not form silken tents.)
See Also
Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) has an unbroken cream/white line along its back, and a dark face.

The adult Malacosoma americanum have light colored transverse lines
Print References
Covell, p. 54, plate 11#3 (1)
Wagner, p. 22--photo of caterpillar (2)
Wagner, p. 227--photo of caterpillar, specimen of adult (3)
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - range map, photos of living and pinned adults.
live adult images (Lynn Scott, Ontario)
live larva images plus description and other info (U. of British Columbia)
pinned adult images showing variation among males, and example of female (James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/trees/forest_tent_caterpillar.htm
Works Cited
1.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
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.
3.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.