The Basics:

  • Does it sting? No.

  • What does it eat? Almost anything in your garden.

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? Yes.

  • Is it rare? No. This species is found almost everywhere.

  • What does it turn into? It becomes a medium-sized brown moth.

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Yes, if you really want to.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

This caterpillar lives in colonies of dozens of individuals. They build webby white "tents" in the branches of trees, and when there are enough of them they can be a fairly serious pest. The adult moth is a pretty, faun-colored insect with a furry body, but people seldom notice them -- it's the caterpillar that you're likely to see, and when you see one, you'll probably see several.

The very similar forest tent caterpillar has a series of white dots instead of a line down its back -- otherwise they are difficult to tell apart.

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