Foraging Behavior of the Caterpillar
A colony of nearly mature caterpillars defoliate a branch during two foraging bouts separated by approximately six hours.
A new eclosed colony of tent caterpillars feeding on the partially expanded buds of a cherry tree.  Between bouts of feeding tent caterpillars rest together on their egg mass.  A few days after this video was recorded the caterpillars in this colony moved to a new site and established a tent in which they aggregated for the following eight weeks. Time-lapse video.
Eastern tent caterpillars molt a number of times to faciliate growth, having a total of six larval "instars".  Each successive instar consumes more leaves than the previous ones.  The sixth instar consumes about 80% of all the leaves that the caterpillar consumes in its whole lifetime which is why people often don't notice the caterpillar unitl they are near to the end of their lifecycle.