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  • Evergreen Bagworm Moth - (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis)

    Evergreen Bagworm Moth - (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis)

    The Evergreen Bagworm Moth is visually interesting, but its larval form really gets people's attention.

    Staff Writer (8/24/2017): What at first looks like a moving pine cone, then becomes a complete mystery to most observers unfamiliar with this family of moths. Bagworm Moth caterpillars will wrap themselves in silk cocoon to which heaps of dead plant matter will stick. Some are covered in pine needles, other in small bits of wood mulch. The debris depends on what is on hand when they are forming the cocoon.

    The caterpillar will spend much of its life in this bag, hanging from a branch. It is when they crawl around for food that people begin to notice them. The plant-covered cocoon is carried along with them and they move somewhat like turtles, pushing their heads out of the bag to advance forward. Once some ground is covered, they then drag their back ends to catch up. The result is what looks like strange genetics experiment: half worm, half plant.

    Once the caterpillar's life stage is over though, it will pupate in the bag it created and emerge a dark and furry moth with feathery antennae. Wingless adult females will keep their bags. Males will fly to females to mate and females lay their fertilized eggs in their old bags. Once the larvae hatch, they will create their own silk bags of debris.

    This species of moth is usually found in areas with conifer trees. Red cedar and arbor vitae are very popular choices and many bags are made of dried arbor vitae needles. The caterpillars are usually seen in the summer; adults usually in early autumn.

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    Details of the:
    Evergreen Bagworm Moth

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Evergreen Bagworm Moth
    Scientific Name: Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis
    Other Names: Common Bagworm, Eastern Bagworm

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Psychidae
           Genus: Thyridopteryx
            Species: ephemeraeformis

    Size (Adult, Length): 16mm to 35mm (0.63in to 1.38in)

    Identifying Colors: black, brown, tan

    Additional Descriptors: pine, cedar, needles, arbor vitae, bark, mulch, crawling, hairy, flying, feathery

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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