Which Of These Caterpillars, Found Throughout The Southeastern U.S., Is Covered In Stinging Hairs?

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Reply: Puss Caterpillars

Sooner or later in your life, you’ve in all probability seen a extremely fuzzy wanting caterpillar, maybe so fuzzy that you just couldn’t resist touching it. Caterpillars which can be the larval phases of moths, for instance, are sometimes instances fairly fuzzy—“banded woolly bear” caterpillars discovered world wide, for instance, flip into Isabella Tiger moths. Over the centuries, untold kids have delighted find banded woolly bears within the spring and holding them of their palms for a spell earlier than discovering an acceptable spot to ship them on their manner.

Fortunately for these kids (together with the previous banded woolly bear catching little one you could have been), banded woolly bears aren’t puss caterpillars, the larval stage of the southern flannel moth. The puss caterpillar is a wonderful specimen lined, as inconceivable because it appears, in lengthy and splendid wanting “hair” that is available in quite a lot of colours like grayish white, golden brown, and darkish charcoal grey (typically with a streak of vibrant orange operating longitudinally). Woe to anybody who touches the fuzzy little creature although, for these hairs (really a hair like construction referred to as “setae”) are a gateway to pure ache.

These fascinating caterpillars, wanting extra like a strolling wig than the rest, are thought to be a harmful insect due to their venomous spines. Simply brushing the superb hairs on their physique ends in excruciating ache and extended contact, like letting one crawl on you or selecting one up in your palms, leaves behind burns created by venom injected into your pores and skin by 1000’s of little spines on every of the hairs. Those that have been “stung” by a puss caterpillar report that the ache is intense, lasts as much as twelve hours, and has been described as just like a damaged bone or blunt drive trauma.

There’s no medical remedy for a sting aside from merely using out the ache, but when you end up on the painful finish of an encounter with a puss caterpillar, you’ll be able to (and will) try to take away any remaining spines from the location of contact by making use of a layer of tape (similar to a sq. of cellophane packing tape) and ripping it off, eradicating the remaining spiny hairs by way of mechanical motion.

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