- Associated Press - Sunday, June 28, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Thousands of blackish-blue Western tent caterpillars have eaten the leaves of aspen trees in forests around Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (https://bit.ly/1NqreGV ) that Santa Fe National Forest entomologist Andrew Graves says the aspens aren’t likely to die — but their limbs will remain bare until later this summer.

He says the caterpillars will likely disappear in the next few days, living in cocoons underneath leaves until they emerge as small, brown moths.

Tent caterpillars are a normal part of the forest ecosystem. Graves says they periodically invade forests all over the West, although this is the first time he’s seen them in the Big Tesuque area.

Graves says the insects are food for birds, and their chewed up leaves and dead larvae enrich the forest soil.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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