Hickory Tu ssock Caterpillar Lophocampa caryaeTussock caterpillar

The tussock caterpillar is a nomadic species found on a number of hardwood trees including hickory, elm, and walnut.  The female moth emerges in late spring and lays her eggs in clusters on the unde rsides of the leaves of the host tree.  After a period of growth lasting about 3 months, the insect overwinters as a pupa near the ground. The larvae remain gregarious through the early instars, feeding in the open and forming conspicuous aggregations. The social behavior of the caterpillar is unstudied.


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