The Forest Tent Caterpillar, 12 April 2014

Malacosoma disstria, the Forest tent caterpillar;
Gilchrist county, Florida (12 April 2014).

This is a Forest tent caterpillar moth — obviously still in caterpillar form. This is also one of Florida’s most lovely caterpillars. With bright splashes of electric blue, orange, and yellow, not to mention its light, delicate, white fur, I could easily watch one of these little dudes go about its business for an hour. They’re fantastically gorgeous.

Ranging throughout must of North America, Forest tent caterpillar moths tend to swarm and feed together as caterpillars, almost like a community. Apparently they aren’t overwhelmingly destructive to the foliage they feed upon, however. Though they can at times strip the leaves of a tree, those trees tend to recover from the Dionysian festival unleashed by these colorful little noodles of awesome.

 

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