Posts Tagged ‘hairy caterpillar’

The Flannel Moth – an Hirsute Insect

December 22, 2008
A flannel moth, Megalopyge opercularis, spotted in North Carolina

A flannel moth, Megalopyge opercularis, spotted in North Carolina

The flannel moth, otherwise known as the pussy moth, is among the hairiest of insects. It can be found throughout the southern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central America. The most distinguishing feature of these moths and their larvae is their appearance. The larva is known by several names, including asp caterpillar and puss caterpillar. They are possibly even hairier than their adult forms, and their glossy coat of fur often tempts people to pick them up. Unfortunately, the hair of the caterpillar is very poisonous and will immediately cause an incredibly painful sting and rash. The sting is usually localized to the area that touched the asp, but it can spread quite a bit and cause severe distress.

This fluffy caterpillar packs a painful sting

This fluffy caterpillar packs a painful sting

The asp caterpillar looks even more amazing on film:

More Information: These moths are not amazingly unique compared to other moths unfortunately, so just the Wikipedia page proved to be very informative. The poisonous fur coat is the main unique feature of this species.

Megalopyge opercularis [Wikipedia]

Images Sources:

Bug Guide – Southern Flannel Moth – Megalopyge opercularisMale [Image: Cotinis, 2004]

Duke University – Butterflies of Texas [Image: Jeffrey S. Pippin, 2004]