Any moth larva of the genus Malacosoma (family Lasiocampidae). Tent caterpillars are often brightly coloured. Congregations of the eastern tent caterpillar (M. americanum) of eastern North America spin huge, tent-shaped communal nests in forked tree branches. Eggs the moth deposits on a tree in midsummer hatch in spring. The hatched caterpillars migrate to a tree crotch and construct a silken tent, which they leave each day throughout the summer to feed on the surrounding leaves. The forest tent caterpillar (M. disstria) is common in the southern U.S.
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