Host: Ponderosa pine, white pines, and piñon
Larvae feed on foliage and make large silken webs (tents)
in the upper branches of host pines. Mature caterpillars are about
4 cm long, reddish brown to black in color and have tufts of black
and yellow hairs on their back. Adult moths have dark forewings
with large, white splotches and white hindwings.
Biology: The tiger moth has one generation
per year in the Southwest. Adult moths emerge and lay eggs in August.
During September and October caterpillars hatch from eggs, begin
feeding on pine needles and producing webbing. Larvae overwinter
in the webs in groups. In April and May, larvae resume feeding and
expand their webs. At this point the insects and the webs become
very noticeable. In June pupation occurs.
Tiger moths are also found feeding and forming tents on Douglas-fir
and white fir during outbreaks. It is believed that populations
of this insect usually remain at low levels due to the action of
predators, parasites, diseases, and cold winters.
Larvae feed gregariously in webs primarily on young piñon
and ponderosa pine. Although the webs and larvae can be very noticeable
in spring, this insect causes minor defoliation. Permanent tree
injury rarely results from feeding that is usually limited to the
Similar Insects: Tents are similar to those
formed by tent caterpillars such as the western
tent caterpillar; however, L. ingens is the most common
moth to make large tents on piñon, ponderosa, and white pines.
Another species of tiger moth, L. argentata subalpina feeds
primarily on juniper but occasionally on piñon in the Rocky
References: 23, 104