No, tent caterpillars are not the same as gypsy moths. Among their features in common are their size, fuzzy hair, black and brown bands, and wide yellow stripes. In contrast, the gypsy moth caterpillar also has a red stripe that distinguishes it from the tent caterpillar.
The obvious difference between the two species is that the tent caterpillar lives in tents it builds for protection in branches of trees, typically fruit trees. The gypsy moth does not make a tent but lives on tree trunks and large branches without protection from predators. The gypsy moth larvae may also be found inside burrows. They dig into the ground to protect themselves during cold temperatures or other unfavorable weather conditions such as excessive rain or wind.
Do gypsy moths turn into tent caterpillars?
No, gypsy moths do not turn into tent caterpillars. Gypsy moths and tent caterpillars are different species in different families of insects (Lepidoptera).
Tent caterpillars look similar to gypsy moth larvae, but they are not in the same family. Other types of moths and butterflies can be confused with gypsy moths. For example, io moths and imperial moths may be mistaken for gypsy moth adults or larvae.
What’s the difference between gypsy moths and tent caterpillars?
Tent caterpillars are the most common and widespread of the three in Minnesota.
Tent caterpillars have a white stripe on their back, and so do forest tent caterpillars. The tent caterpillars have a series of keyhole-shaped spots, while forest tent caterpillars only have a few. Gypsy moth caterpillars also have fur but lack the white stripe or keyhole-shaped spots.
Two other differences distinguish gypsy moths from tent caterpillars:
Gypsy moth caterpillar tents (or webs) are found mainly in oak trees, not in maples, as are those of tent caterpillars.
Tent caterpillars are active during the day, while gypsy moths are active at night.
The gypsy moth is a non-native species that was introduced to North America in 1868. These small, brown moths have become a serious problem for North American forests because they destroy trees by eating their leaves
The tent caterpillar is a native insect that gets its name from the silk tents it builds on tree branches. Unlike gypsy moths, these moths don’t eat leaves but instead feed on plants such as lilac and cherry trees. Gypsy moths and tent caterpillars aren’t related at all; they just have a similar appearance.