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Ootheca? - Malacosoma americana

Ootheca? - Malacosoma americana
Alachua County, Florida, USA
November 1, 2006
Size: ~15 mm
Found on a cherry sapling. The foaminess reminds me of a mantid ootheca but I've never seen such a dark one, or one shaped like this. It surrounds the stem quite evenly.

Egg Mass
I took a photo of something like this in the spring. Two days ago I was looking through Marshall's Insects: their Natural History and Diversity and saw a photo like this identified as eggs of Eastern Tent Caterpillars (Malacosoma americanum). I was just ready to post my photo with a question:

Do any other caterpillars lay eggs like this? Is this characteristic to species, genus, family? Can the egg mass be identified to some level without knowing what tree it was on?

tent caterpillars
The shape is typical of the family. They usually choose smaller branches so they can encircle the entire twig with eggs. Both the Eastern tent and the Forest tent coat their eggs, which accounts for the shiny black color. There is a western species that does not and the eggs are white. The primary host for the eastern tent is wild cherry, whereas the Forest tent prefers sugar maple. Both will feed on related species though.

I'll have to check it out again and see if I can catch the cats emerging. Lots of Eastern Tent Caterpillars around here.

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