Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Moth Invasion

This is tree in a small forest in southern Germany; it was completely covered by silk of ermine moths. At first glance it looks terrible but it’s also fascinating to the mass of caterpillars in the communal web. For the tree, the moths are highly dangerous. This one has lost all leaves.

tree with ermine moth web
Part of the web.

ermine moth web on a tree

a tree covered by ermine moth webs

ermine moth caterpillars
The caterpillars.

communal nest of ermine moth caterpillars
A nest with caterpillars.

The high amount of moths is also attractive for parasites; these are some ichneumon wasps placing eggs in the moth pupae.

ichneumon wasps on ermine moth caterpillars
Ichneumon wasps 

ichneumon wasps in a ermine moth nest

caterpillars of ermine moths in a communal nest


  1. How interesting. I have seen this mass covering only once when it resulted in huge exploitation by many birds to feed on the millions of insects.

  2. We have those here all over the place. They do so much damage and you cannot get rid of them. One year I did see all the goings on within the web, and it was fascinating. Very prolific. You captures are so interesting.

  3. Wonderful photos , delicious artwork which created such an Crawler, full of poetry!

  4. We used to have something like these at our home in Oregon (before we sold out when we retired)...people called them tent caterpillars -- and they were so destructive. Very interesting picture set!


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