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Name: Jeremy
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Question:
I live in Champaign, IL where I attend school at the University of Illinois. On my way home from class, I spotted what looked like a pine cone crawling along the ground. Upon further examination, I found that it was some sort of caterpiller in an incomplete cocoon which had bits of evergreen imbedded in the sides for camoflage. I then realized that it was making its way to an evergreen bush, within which I saw a number of already attached cocoons. What species are these? Is it a moth or butterfly? To be honest, I am a student of finance, but am facinated by nature.



Replies:
Jeremy,

It sounds to me like a bagworm. You should be able to find a good entomology text at your local or college library to confirm this identification.

It seems the appearance of the bagworm was successful in fooling you into thinking it was a cone. I have see trees literally covered with them shortly preceding their (the tree's) demise. I am sure if the tree owners knew they could simply pick the insect from the tree and cause a population crash for the insect, far fewer trees would be lost.

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Richard R. Rupnik



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