After the day’s work comes their dinner. The caterpillars come down from the nest and begin eating on the pine-needles below. It is a magnificent sight to see the redcoated band lined up in twos and threes on each needle and in ranks so closely formed that the green sprigs of the branch bend under the load. The diners, all motionless, all poking their heads forward, nibble slowly in silence. Their black foreheads gleam in the rays of my lantern. They eat far into the night. Then they go back to the nest, where for a little longer they continue spinning on the surface. It is one or two o’clock in the morning when the last of the band goes indoors.
To guide them as they wander about their tree, the caterpillars have their silk ribbon, formed by threads from their mouths. They follow this on their return to the nest. Sometimes they miss it and strike the ribbon made by another band of caterpillars. They follow it and reach a strange dwelling. No matter! There is not the least quarreling between the owners and the new arrivals. And all, when bedtime comes, start for the nest, like brothers who have always lived together.