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Free images -  Animal Homes - Tents

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Some caterpillar species make their homes in nests that look like tents.  Tent caterpillars are part of the moth family and include several species.  Their homes are can be easily identified by the silk tents they build in the branches of shrubs and trees.  

eastern tent caterpillarsThe three most common types of tent caterpillars in Canada are the Eastern Tent, the Western Tent and the Forest Tent.  The images below and right are of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar [Malacosoma americana].

While some species build one large tent, others build several small tents. The Eastern Tent Caterpillar builds its tent where tree branches fork.  

After over wintering and hatching in the early spring, the larvae (baby caterpillars) look for a tent construction site that is exposed to sunlight.  The warmth of the sun is critical for a caterpillar's digestion and especially so during the cool spring weather.

Some species construct tents with several compartments having different temperatures allowing caterpillars to move about to adjust their body temperature.

Caterpillars leave their tent during the day in search of food and return again in the evening to complete digestion.  As the caterpillars eat and grow, so too does the tent.  Some tents become very large.

 

man's arm holding small shrub bush eaten by eastern tent caterpillar

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 2  [Eastern Tent-2]
A small nest on a shrub, already stripped bare by hungry caterpillars.

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small shrub bush eaten by eastern tent caterpillar

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 1  [Eastern Tent-3]

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Nest of Eastern Tent caterpillars between branches.

Nest of Eastern Tent caterpillars - 1   [Caterpillar Nest-1]

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fuzzy furry orange white blue black eastern tent caterpillars

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 1  

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Eastern Tent Caterpillar nest on shrub.

Nest of Eastern Tent caterpillars - 2  [Caterpillar Nest-2]

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eastern tent caterpillars crawling outside tent nest

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 4  [Eastern Tent-4]

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eastern tent caterpillars basking in sun outside tent home

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 5  [Eastern Tent-5]

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eastern tent caterpillars crawing outside of nest

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 6  [Eastern Tent-6]

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Eastern Tent Caterpillars emerging from nest.

Nest of Eastern Tent caterpillars - 3   [Caterpillar Nest-3]

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Silken tents are very strong and made of many long fibers.  They offer great protection from the weather and predators.  The dark specks inside the tent are caterpillar poop.

 

Caterpillar nest between shrub branches Eastern Tent

Nest of Eastern Tent caterpillars - 4   [Caterpillar Nest-4]

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The tent is home to the caterpillar for about 7-8 weeks - Eastern Tent Caterpillars mature in 4-6 weeks.  After this time, the caterpillar with leave the tent for the final time to seek a suitably protected place to pupate and spin a cocoon.  

After two weeks, adult moths emerge.  Females will mate, lay her eggs and die - all within 24 hours.  She deposits her eggs on a branch covered with a protective frothy substance which hardens into a shiny styrofoam-like material.  Remember to look for dark gray or brown bands that straddle or encircle twigs.  Larvae grow in the egg mass, and the following spring, the cycle begins again.

Tent Caterpillars are considered pests since they are very destructive and capable of stripping trees completely bare.

 

eastern tent caterpillar blue black white orange on branch

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 7  [Eastern Tent-7]

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black blue white orange fuzzy caterpillar eastern tent

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 8  [Eastern Tent-8]

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fuzzy caterpillars crawling on silk tent nest ontario

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 9  [Eastern Tent-9]

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blue black fuzzy eastern tent caterpillar on branch white blooms

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 10  [Eastern Tent-10]

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striped spotted blue black white orange fuzzy furry eastern tent caterpillars

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 11  [Eastern Tent-11]

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large nest of eastern tent caterpillars

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 12  [Eastern Tent-12]

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swarm of caterpillars in silk nest

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 13  [Eastern Tent-13]

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eastern tent caterpillar eating leaf

Eastern Tent caterpillars - 14  [Eastern Tent-14]

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Similar to the Eastern Tent Caterpillar, is the Forest Tent Caterpillar [Malacosoma disstria], however, the Forest Tent, despite its name, does not weave a tent!

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"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no  questions, they pass no criticisms." 
~ George Eliot ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The greatness
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"I like pigs. 
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