tent caterpillar


: any of several social caterpillars (genus Malacosoma and especially M. americanum of the family Lasiocampidae) that form large silken webs on trees and may cause serious defoliation

Examples of tent caterpillar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Western tent caterpillars Caterpillars with black bodies and white/yellow/blue markings. The Arizona Republic, 14 Feb. 2024 For Mount Cabot Maple, drama hit the sugar bush in 2016 and again in 2017 in the form of a tent caterpillar infestation that defoliated so many trees that syrup production dropped 60 percent. Amanda Gokee, BostonGlobe.com, 9 Aug. 2023 The emerald ash borer, eastern tent caterpillar, and browntail moth all feed on these and other hardwood trees. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 2 Feb. 2023 The western tent caterpillar is pretty common in western Oregon and is probably the culprit. oregonlive, 25 July 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tent caterpillar.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tent caterpillar was in 1854

Dictionary Entries Near tent caterpillar

Cite this Entry

“Tent caterpillar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tent%20caterpillar. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

tent caterpillar

: any of several destructive caterpillars that live in groups and construct large silken webs on trees
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