Little Brown Bags on the Tips of Trees

Insects in winter : bagworm moth pouches are examples of dormant insects out in the open.
Insects in winter : bagworm moth pouches are examples of dormant insects out in the open.

I spied a tree strung with the winter pouches of bagworm moths. I often see these cocoons on evergreen trees, particularly cedar trees and not as often on deciduous trees.

bagworm moth case
Bagworm moth case

The little brown bags of dead plant material hang toward the tips of the sleeping winter tree’s branches. Bags that are on deciduous trees are most noticeable when the tree are bare. On evergreen (conifer) trees look for little brown bundles.

Little mottled moths create this cozy little sleeping bags to spend the winter in. Each species of bagworm moths make bags distinctive to that species.

a bagworm moth case hidden by crumpled dead leaves
a bagworm moth case hidden by crumpled dead leaves

The bagworm moth family is found all over the world. Humans have classified about 1350 species of insects as bagworm moths. They are also called “case moths”.

The larva (caterpillar) of these species are like recyclers who savage materials to making their pouches. They collect sand, soil, lichen and plant pieces and stick on their cases made of self-made silk. They make silk like silk worms moths do.

The “bags” remind me of caddis fly cases. I get a real kick finding caddis fly cases in streams in the summer and bagworm moth bags in winter.

I photograph these bags when I see them. Perhaps, I can learn the different species in my area from the cases they make.

 

See also : Moths of Philadelphia: A Checklist

Butterflies and Moths Information and Links 

Clearwing Moth and Its Life Cycle

One comment

  1. Wow. What great camouflage. I wouldn’t have guessed these were anything but old bits of tree hanging on to the branch. I’ll have to see if I can find some!

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