Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Eastern tent caperpillar on the Shellpot Creek

As part of the continuing exploration of the wildlife refuge that is my backyard I have tried to take good pictures (with my new camera) of the interesting things that inhabit the area. As long as they are not moving too fast I can usually run inside to get the camera and shoot it. This means I can get more slow bugs than fast mammals and birds but I am working on it.

This colorful fuzzy caterpillar seems to be an Eastern Tent Caterpillar as far as I can tell from the web. The Malacosoma americanum is a pest in the east and they are known to defoliate trees like cherry, apple and crab apple. I guess I should have squished it when I saw it. It was only one. I promise to take a picture of the tent and mass if we get one. These guys turn into moths.

1 comment:

Raupensch├╝tzerin said...

Don't squish it! These amicable little creatures have a bad reputation because they eat all the leaves on peoples' trees in their yard, making the tree look temporarily unappealing to the eye. That is no reason to kill the little guy! The tree grows its leaves right back after the caterpillars go into their cocoons. Furthermore, these particular moths wouldn't eat your clothes under any circumstances, nor do they or their children bite. They are harmless and helpless vegetarians, and are native to the USA, unlike many other species. Be patriotic and protect them! If you see one wandering astray, put him in a fruit tree. He can't hurt you, and if you pet him, he's as soft as a kitten. These make great short-term pets each year.