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(Malacosoma neustria), a moth of the family Lasiocampidae; a pest of cultivated and wild pip and stone fruit.
The wing span of the lackey moth is 40 mm in females and 32 mm in males. The wings are brownish yellow, with a dark transverse stripe. The caterpillar reaches 55 mm in length. It is bluish gray, with white and orange stripes on the back and blue stripes on the sides. The egg is grayish.
The lackey moth is found in Europe and Asia and throughout the USSR. The caterpillars winter in the egg cases, which they discard in the spring. They live in colonies inside or on the surface of spider nests on the trunks and in the crotches of trees, eating the leaves, buds, and flowers. The caterpillars pupate between leaves and in cracks in the bark. In midsummer the females deposit the eggs in a ring around slender twigs. In years of massive reproduction the caterpillars may denude the trees. Control measures involve removing and burning all twigs with egg deposits and treating the plants with insecticides.