Malacosoma disstria

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Malacosoma disstria larvae with characteristic "footprint" pattern on their dorsal surface (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Herbert A. 'Joe' Pase III, Texas Forest Service
Source: IPM Images

Malacosoma disstria (Hübner, 1822) - (forest tent caterpillar)

This moth is a native forest pest in North America. It attacks aspen and other trees, causing periodic outbreaks. Eggs are laid as bands on the branches in autumn. The larvae overwinter inside the eggs and emerge in spring around the time of budbreak. During outbreak years, the gregarious larvae can cause defoliation and extensive damage which retards tree growth and might cause tree mortality. The larvae don't produce a tent, but cover the tree trunk with silk webbing. They can be recognized by their dorsal "keyhole" or "footprint" pattern.

For reviews on the biology and management of this moth see Schowalter (2017) or Wikipedia.

Vernacular names
• English: forest tent caterpillar
• Français: livrée de la forêt


Synonyms:
Clisiocampa disstria