This unassuming and cuddly-looking little insect is the adorable caterpillar form of the Fall Webworm. The species remains best known, as well as more popular, at this stage as opposed to the adult.
People often consider the insect a pest for aesthetic reasons as they find its wispy nests visually unappealing. However, they so far appear to be completely harmless to trees that are otherwise healthy.
Fall Webworm Physical Description
The caterpillar stage of the Fall Webworm typically attains a length of roughly 1.4 in (35 mm). Their coloring can be highly variable among individuals, often ranging from dark gray to a pale yellow. Dark yellow spots often present themselves on the delicate bodies. A cream colored stripe can also often be seen on each side.
The body of the Fall Webworm also usually has a covering of numerous short bristles. The adults of the species (the moth form) primarily develop white in color. Their wingspan commonly averages about 1.5 in (38 mm).
Fall Webworm Range, Habitat, and Ecology
The Fall Webworm appears native only to a wide range of North America. They seem to thrive in abundance from Mexico to Canada but remain especially numerous in the United States.
Lastly, either one or two generations may breed per year, with their eggs being laid on the underside of leaves.