Tag Archives: Caterpillar



“Sometimes strands spend a long time seeking each other, fumbling without light, and interweave without knowing that it is exactly what the web wants.” 
― Emmi Itäranta

I can’t even comprehend the connections in this tent caterpillar nest that I discovered along the trail today. As a child, I recall poking and prodding at them, breaking them open and watching the caterpillars fall out in numbers too large to count. This nest was unmolested by young boys with sticks and the light caught it in such a way that it twinkled against the dark bushes behind it.

I stood transfixed by the complexity of it, as if a microscopic universe danced before me, small particles trapped within the weave of filaments, including a spiky seed which must have floated into the nest and became trapped. I’d never considered just how beautiful a caterpillar nest could be, but the right light made it into something completely different, especially close up.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/250 sec, f/8.0 ISO 100

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“Forest Tent Caterpillar”

“Tent Caterpillar”

“And I wonder if the caterpillar at the threshold of death ever knew that she would get metamorphosed into a butterfly that she could fly.” 
― Chirag Tulsiani

Our camp area was overrun with these caterpillars this past weekend. We’ve been going to the same location for fourteen years and I can’t recall ever seeing so many tent caterpillars, though I did not actually see a colony in any neighbouring trees. On researching this, what I thought was an Eastern Tent Caterpillar, turned out to be a Forest Tent Caterpillar. The colouring is slightly different and the Forest Tent Caterpillar does not congregate inside the tent, rather in ‘clumps’ high in the host trees. The individual caterpillars were everywhere as were completed cocoons. Every nook and cranny had a yellow silk cocoon attached to them. At some point in the next three weeks, the northern forest will be filled with moderately sized, brown moths.

As a child, this was the most common caterpillar and thus, the first exposure we had to the life cycle of moths and butterflies. Because they are covered in hairs, they were more appealing than some of their naked cousins. I think all my friend’s bug jars housed one of these at one point, though we had no idea what they actually ate. Some survived, many perished.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/80 sec, f/22.0 ISO 800

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