Hyphantria cunea

Geographic Range

Fall webworm moths are found throughout the United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico. They are invasive throughout Europe and have even entered China, North Korea, and Japan. They are common to abundant throughout their range. (Bartlett, 2020)


Fall webworm moths live in a variety of habitats. Caterpillars build whiteish, weblike tents on the ends of tree branches. In the northern part of their range, they may use a variety of host trees including apple, ash, birch, cherry, elm, mulberry, poplar, and willow trees. (Bartlett, 2020)

In the southern part of their range, they prefer ash, hickory, maple, mulberry, oak, pecan, poplar, redbud, sweetgum, walnut, and willow trees. (Bartlett, 2020)

They can be found in a large variety of habitats like forests and grasslands. The key factor in where they live is the location of their host trees. (Bartlett, 2020)

Physical Description

The larvae of fall webworm moths differ in the northern and southern parts of their range. In the north, they have a black head, a yellow or green body, and a dark stripe running down their backs. On their sides, they have tufts of whitish hairs that come out of black spots. In the south, they have an orange or red head and a yellow or light brown body. The hairs found on larvae are fairly long. (Bartlett, 2020; "Hyphantria cunea", 2007)

Adults have white wings in the northern part of their range. In the southern part of their range, many of them have greyish spots. Their wings are triangular like wedges. Their forelegs are orange-ish in color. (Bartlett, 2020)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Average length
    25 mm
    0.98 in
  • Range wingspan
    25 to 42 mm
    0.98 to 1.65 in


Larvae of fall webworm moths go through metamorphosis. (Bartlett, 2020; Schowalter and Ring, 2017)


Fall webworm moths utilize sexual reproduction through internal fertilization. They breed seasonally and lay eggs. ("Hyphantria cunea", 2007)

Fall webworm moths do not exhibit parental involvement.

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement


Fall webworm moths have one generation per year in the northern parts of their range. There can be up to four generations in the warmest parts of their range. (Bartlett, 2020)


Fall webworm moths are active during the day as larvae but are active at night as adults. Larvae move my crawling, while adults are able to fly.

Communication and Perception

Fall webworm moths communicate through chemical methods. They perceive their environment through visual, chemical, and tactile methods. (Bartlett, 2020)

Food Habits

Larvae feed on leaves and adults feed on sap and nectar.

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • nectar


Fall webworm moths are preyed upon by many creatures, including birds, insects, and spiders. They also have at least 50 species of parasitoids. (Schowalter and Ring, 2017)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

They are important pollinators of a variety of plants. ("Hyphantria cunea", 2007)

  • Ecosystem Impact
  • pollinates

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

They have a positive economic importance for humans because they are significant pollinators.

  • Positive Impacts
  • pollinates crops

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Larvae of fall webworm moths can be crop pests. (Schowalter and Ring, 2017)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status


Deena Hauze (author), Animal Diversity Web Staff.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.


a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


union of egg and spermatozoan


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


an animal that mainly eats nectar from flowers


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species

scent marks

communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them


offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.


lives alone


living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.


uses touch to communicate


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.


uses sight to communicate


2007. "Hyphantria cunea" (On-line). Global Invasive Species Database. Accessed January 21, 2020 at http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1201.

Bartlett, T. 2020. "Species Hyphantria cunea - Fall Webworm Moth - Hodges#8140" (On-line). Bug Guide. Accessed January 20, 2020 at https://bugguide.net/node/view/453.

Edosa, T., Y. Jo, M. Keshavarz, A. Young Sang, N. Mi Young, Y. Han. 2018. Current status of the management of fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea: Towards the integrated pest management development. Journal of Applied Entomology, 143(1-2): 1-10.

Schowalter, T., D. Ring. 2017. Biology and Management of the Fall Webworm, Hyphantria cunea (Lepidoptera: Erebidae). Journal of Integrated Pest Management, 8(1): 7.

Travis, H. 2005. The Effect of Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacasoma americanum) Infestation on Fall Webworm (Hyphantria cunea) Selection of Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) as a Host Tree. The American Midland Naturalist, 153 ((2): 270-275.

Warren, L., T. Milorad. 1967. The Fall Webworm, Hyphantria cunea, Its Distribution and Natural Enemies: A World List (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 40(2): 194-202. Accessed January 20, 2020 at https://www.jstor.org/stable/25083620.