…one of these clinging to a tree?
A tiny little case, maybe only 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, made of plant or some other organic material held together with silk. I have seen them secured to the tree… I have also seen them moving along the bark! Those of you familiar with stream and pond life may be wondering what a Caddis Fly larva is doing in the woods on a tree. That’s what I thought, the first time I saw one! But this is not a Caddis Fly.
There is a family of moths called Psychidae, or Bagworm Moths whose larva build these cases. There are around 600 species found worldwide and individual species’ stories vary. (Some tropical species build cases as long as 6 inches!) In general, as the larva eats and grows, the case is enlarged. Eventually, the critter anchors its case to something solid – a tree or rock, for example, and pupates. The adult male is reported to be a strong flyer and will search via pheremones for the wingless female adult, still inside the case. After mating, the female may lay her eggs inside the case before dying, or not. In some species, the female dies and the larva emerge from eggs that are still inside the mother’s body.
Some species cause quite a problem by defoliating trees. If you choose to google them, you will find many websites that deal with how to manage them.
I suppose I should have included this one in my story about Lepidoptera in Winter!