tent caterpillar, common name for the larvae of the members of a family of moths (Lasiocampidae), easily recognized by the large silk tents, or webs, that the larvae construct during the spring in the crotches of trees, particularly apple and cherry trees. Tent caterpillars are hairy and usually brightly colored, with blue and yellow spots. Periodically they become serious orchard pests and occur in large enough numbers to defoliate whole trees and damage the fruit. Many larvae live gregariously within the tent, which they use for shelter during the night and in rainy weather. During the day, the larvae leave the tent and feed on the leaves in nearby branches.
The best-known tent maker is the Eastern tent caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum. In addition to being an orchard pest, it has been linked to mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS), in which apparently healthy mares experience high rates (more than 70% in experimental studies) of aborted fetuses or stillborn foals. An outbreak of MRLS resulted in the lost of more than 5,000 foals in Kentucky in 2001. Elimination of caterpillar populations, by removing host trees or eradicating the caterpillars, or otherwise avoiding horse contact with the caterpillars and their waste appears to prevent the syndrome. Other species of Malacosoma occur both in E and W North America and have been known to defoliate large areas by attacking a variety of forest and shade trees. Not all species build tents; despite the name forest tent caterpillar, M. disstria, at times an extremely destructive pest that migrates by the millions to new food plants, never weaves a tent.
The tent caterpillar pupates within the oval white cocoon it spins, and the adult emerges during midsummer as a reddish brown or gray, medium-sized, stout-bodied, hairy moth with feathery antennae. After mating, the adult deposits several hundred eggs, covered by a thick, foamy brown crust, in bands around the twigs of the host tree. The eggs overwinter until the early spring when they hatch. Larvae from several egg masses congregate near a fork in a limb and form the tent by crawling about, leaving silk behind. Removing egg masses during the winter or removing tents in the early spring and soaking them in kerosene or burning them, are the most effective means of control.
Tent caterpillars are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Lepidoptera, superfamily Bombycoidea, family Lasiocampidae.
"tent caterpillar." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tent-caterpillar
"tent caterpillar." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tent-caterpillar
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
tent cat·er·pil·lar • n. a chiefly American moth caterpillar (family Lasiocampidae) that lives in groups inside communal silken webs in a tree, which it often defoliates. Its several species include the common Malacosoma americana.
"tent caterpillar." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 13, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tent-caterpillar
"tent caterpillar." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved September 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/tent-caterpillar