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Arthropods

So over winter…

Malacosoma americanum egg mass. Photo by David Anderson, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted an early spring, but it’s still pretty cold outside in many parts of the U.S. During these past few months, how have the insects survived? Are they hunkered down somewhere? As adults? Larvae?

The eastern tent caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum, braves the winter as an egg! While most insects that over-winter as eggs are placed in a protected space, like under bark or in branch crevices, this moth lays its eggs in a mass along small tree branches. The adult moth protects the eggs from the elements with a foam-like substance that hardens. They are pretty easy to spot on the bare trees – so bundle up, head outside and see how many egg masses you can find in your backyard!

 

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