Insect Identification logo
Icon of a spider
Icon of a beetle insect
Icon of a butterfly
Icon of a bee
Icon of the Bugfinder utility

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth (Malacosoma americanum)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth.

 Updated: 3/2/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The popular and furry Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth picks the perfect tree to start a family where the offspring make a mess of things.



The Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth gets its name based on the behavior of its caterpillars. Together, a cluster of young caterpillars create a "tent" from their silk and use it as a home on the tree or shrub they are feeding off. The yellow and black, meal worm-like caterpillars come and go during the day as they eat, returning at night for protection from the elements and potential predators. The tents are sticky and difficult to remove from branches. Because of feeding activity, dead leaves and fruit get trapped inside, creating unsightly branches.

Adult moths have brown hair all over them. Two thin, but obvious white lines cross their forewings at the center and lower portion. Brown antennae are comb-like and large. The thorax is covered in dense brown hairs. Like most moths, Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moths are attracted to lights at night and are nocturnal. They are commonly seen around roses and fruit trees, like apple, cherry and peach, where they are likely to lay their eggs. Female moths lay black egg sacs on twigs, near a leaf bud so the young caterpillars can eat the new leaves immediately after they hatch. Because the caterpillars feed off of trees that bear fruit that humans eat, they can considered pests.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Lasiocampidae
          Genus: Malacosoma
            Species: americanum
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Malacosoma americanum
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 41mm (1.17in to 1.60in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; white
Descriptors: furry, uneven, flying
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.