One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

Here’s a seasonal view in our Eastern deciduous woods.

Mystery #89


Any idea what it is, and what kind of tree it’s on?

Give me your guesses!



What would live in webbing in the woods?

These are Eastern Tent Caterpillars, Malacosoma americium, in their preferred food tree, a Wild Cherry.

Tent caterpillars & frassThey are only out in the spring, usually just as the trees come into leaf and make their silk nest anchored between two branches. That is a habit that identifies them from other community-living caterpillars.


The little dots all over the silk are their grass, the word for poop in caterpillar terms. As the larvae get bigger, they venture from the nest and feed on the cherry leaves, somethings eating all of them. (And squirrels are accused of being greedy!) But it doesn’t usually kill the tree! Watch sometime and you’ll notice the tree re-leafs. Tent caterpillars have an interesting social structure, too much to go into on our humble blog. But you readers might want to look them up, now that you know what they are!


2 thoughts on “One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

    • I’m scrunching my nose, barely remembering Gypsy Moth Caterpillars. But Miz Flora does. She says those caterpillars climbed her lovely White Oak trees, by themselves, not in groups.

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