Caterpillars: The Differences

Eastern Tent vs Forest Tent vs Gypsy Moth

There is incredible confusion by the public each year as caterpillars appear.
This page makes it EZ to learn the difference.

The Eastern Tent Caterpillar and the Forest Tent Caterpillar and the Gypsy Moth look very similar to the untrained eye but in reality are quite different in looks.

  • Eastern Tent: A dark mass with tapered ends encircling a twig
  • Forest Tent: A dark mass with square ends encircling a twig
  • Gypsy Moth: A light mass that is attached anywhere including lawn chairs

CATERPILLAR LARVAE STAGE: (All are about 2 inches long)

  • Eastern Tent: Dark with white line down back and blue and black spots on sides and black head
  • Forest Tent: Dark with light blue lines down its sides, white footprints down back and light blue head
  • Gypsy Moth: 5 pair of raised blue spots followed by 6 pair of raised red spots on its back



  • Eastern Tent: Tents are white silk with yellow powder in crotch of tree
  • Forest Tent: Tents are pale yellow silk at ends of branches with folded leaves inside
  • Gypsy Moth: No tents. Solid hard brown case attached in a protected place