Eastern tent caterpillar

30 04 2008

Scientific name: Malacosoma americanum (Fabriculus)

A little background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_tent_caterpillar

In my research I discovered this unusual tidbit—the caterpillar has been implicated in “Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome” (MRLS), but how the caterpillar triggers abortion in horses has yet to be determined. In the spring of 2001, Kentucky experienced an unusually heavy infestation of Eastern tent caterpillars and their presence has been linked to MRLS.

MRLS link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mare_Reproductive_Loss_Syndrome

And, if they survive being (inadvertently) stepped on, driven over, or eaten by birds, they morph into the cocoa brown moths shown here: http://bugguide.net/node/view/558/bgimage

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