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Bagworm Moth (Various spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Bagworm Moth



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Anything goes when it comes to choosing materials that will cover the caterpillars of a Bagworm Moth.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Bagworm Moths are a family of moths whose caterpillars hide in cases built from plant debris. The cases of dried plant leaves, evergreen needles, or lichen bits are often seen moving by themselves until a closer inspection reveals the engine behind it all. The tiny, worm-like caterpillar sticks out its head and legs to move forward, revealing itself. When resting or threatened, it wisely retreats inside its protective case. Cases allow the caterpillar to blend into its surroundings while it feeds. It also protects it from the elements. Caterpillar silk helps it attach its case to branches or beams when it is ready to pupate. These Bagworms eventually become winged adult moths that are dark brown, light brown, or two-toned depending on the species.

Look for larval Bagworms among the branches of pine, juniper, red cedar, arbor vitae, and other conifers as well as among mosses and lichens. Some species are pests of their host plants and should be removed or controlled to prevent spreading to neighboring trees. Adults do not seem to feed at all, focusing their time and energy on reproduction instead.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Psychidae
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          Genus: Various
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Various spp.
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 36mm (0.47" to 1.41")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, green, tan, black
Descriptors: worm in case, pine needles, lichen, dead plant, litter, crawling, speckled, flying
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 12mm and 36mm
Lo: 12mm
Md: 24mm
Hi: 36mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
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State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
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State of Maine graphic
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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
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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
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Bagworm Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Bagworm Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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