When the larva is fully grown (about 1 1/2 inches for males and 2 1/2 inches for females), it starts wandering around, looking for a safe place to pupate. They look for a cranny where they will be safe from enemies like mice, birds and parasitic wasps. Typical hiding places include between ridges of bark, under flaps of loose bark or in cracks of rock outcroppings. They can also be found in crevices on the undersides of vehicles, in firewood piles or on outdoor furniture.
Once the larva has found a safe spot, it sheds its skin and its new skin hardens into a dark brown shell. The gypsy moth is immobile for most of the pupal stage while its entire body is rearranged within the pupal shell. After a week or two, the worm-like caterpillar has been transformed into the winged adult moth, which then breaks free of the pupal shell.
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