Tent Caterpillars and Lappet Moths See also PL

Family Lasiocampidae

Identification: Medium-sized, stout-bodied, rather hairy moths. HW without a frenulum but with humeral angle expanded and with humeral veins. Cu2 in FW rises in basal or of discal cell. Antennae somewhat plumose.

A common eastern species in this group is the Eastern Tent Caterpillar (PL 11), Malacosoma americanum (Fabricius). Its larvae are gregarious and construct a silken tent, usually in the fork of a branch, and use it as a shelter. These larvae feed on apple, cherry, and related trees, and may completely defoliate a tree. Overwintering eggs hatch early in the season, and larvae become full-grown by late May or early June. Larvae spin silken cocoons in various protected places and moths appear about 3 weeks later. A similar species, the Forest Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria Htibner, does not construct a tent. Larva of M. americanum has a yellow stripe down the back; that of M. disstria has a dorsal row of keyhole-shaped spots. Adults of both species have a wingspread of about 1-13^ in. (females are slightly larger than males) and are yellowish brown with 2 narrow light lines across front wings; adults of M. americanum are somewhat darker than those of M. disstria. Lappet moths (Tolype), about the same size as tent caterpillar moths, are bluish gray with white markings; their larvae feed on various trees. Gloveria arizonensis Packard, a common southwestern species, is dark gray, with a wingspread of about 2J^ in.

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