|Preston's favorite caterpillar|
|Troop 200 forest tent caterpillar- click to enlarge|
|Side View- Charles Lewallen|
|Troop 200 cocoon|
When the moths emerge, they mate and the female lays masses of up to 300 eggs. These are glued to branches with a substance that also protects them from freezing over the winter. The larvae emerge in the spring and immediately start feeding. In the Ozarks they are especially fond of oaks and maples.
Our official Troop 200 M. disstria should eclose (emerge from the cocoon) within the week. I will attach its picture to this blog. Until then, the one above will have to do.
A comprehensive resource on forest tent caterpillars is at entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/.