Wild Florida Photo - Malacosoma americana - Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth

Malacosoma americana

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth

Florida native

Columbia Co. FL 04/05/21

Click on any image to open the slideshow

Common from the central Florida peninsula northward thoughout the eastern United States west to the foothills of the Rockies and into southernmost Canada.
The larval stage of these moths are very social. After emerging from the mass of eggs, the caterpillars build a silk nest in the tree where they congregate when they are not feeding. The last instar only feeds at night and will disperse when it is time to build a cocoon. Adult moths emerge after two weeks and are nocturnal.
The caterpillar can be up to 57mm (2-1/4 in.) long with a dark face and sides that are marked with blue, black, orange and white. This species is distinguished by the presence of a solid creamy-white line along the middle of the back (dorsum). Adult moths have a wingspan of 22-44mm (7/8 to 1-3/4 in.). The body and wings are fawn-brown with white AM and PM lines on the forewings and sometimes a white median area.


Malacosoma americana is a member of the Lasiocampidae - Tent Caterpillar and Lappet Moths family.

For more information on this species, visit the following link:
Bugguide.net page for this species

Date record last modified: Sep 21, 2022

Paul Rebmann Nature Photography at pixels.com