If you have found yourself exploring the Scenic Drive this spring and worrying about these big “spider webs,” do not fret! These are actually western tent caterpillars (Malacosoma californicum). Several juvenile caterpillars work together to create the webbed nest for protection and molting. During the day you can spot them inside the nest; during the night they will forage on the leaves of their host plant. Often you see these critters on desert almond bushes here at Red Rock Canyon. Once they reach maturity, they metamorphose into brown moths.

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