The hairs of the Southern Flannel Moth (Asp) Caterpillar conceal sharp toxic spines. For example, some people have a severe allergic response to hairs that penetrate and break-off. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years. Black Caterpillar Identification With Pictures (Including Black Fuzzy Caterpillars), Types of Caterpillars with Helpful Identification Chart & Pictures, Yellow Caterpillars with Identification Guide and Pictures, Types of Green Caterpillars with Identification Guide and Pictures, Stinging Caterpillars Identification Guide With Pictures (Including Poisonous Caterpillars), Furry Caterpillars with An Identification Chart and Pictures, Black Caterpillar Identification and Guide, Types of Green Caterpillars with Identification Guide. It depends on the species of caterpillar. Mostly found in states in the Southern US, these furry caterpillars may look soft but their looks are deceiving. Spiky horns on either end, a saddle marking on its back, and tufts of spines along its side make this an easy caterpillar to identify. Hickory tussock moth caterpillars are fuzzy, white and black caterpillars that are often very apparent in the fall, sometimes in large numbers. All caterpillars are larvae that belong to the order of moths and butterflies called Lepidoptera in the class of Insecta. A long black caterpillar with yellow stripes could be the Smeared Dagger caterpillar (Acronicta oblinita). The Crowned slug caterpillar has stinging spines around its sides. Colors on these stinging insects are yellow, brown, green, and orange. The Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British Isles – Jim Porter. This ridge has 2 yellow lines running up the green body. The identifying feature of the Saddleback is a saddle-like marking on its back. The caterpillar looks black, yellow, and brown. If the rash really stings, the 10- to 15-minute ice application can usually help relieve the pain. There may also be a burning or stinging sensation. Although white-marked tussock moth caterpillars are distinctive in their markings and coloration, other tussocks may be mistaken for them or vice versa. It is thought that exposure to the creature's tiny hairs, called setae, triggers an overactive immune response in some people. To properly identify these caterpillars requires a prepared specimen with a microscope. This Tiger caterpillar does not. You can identify these stinging caterpillars by the row of bright red or orange dots on their back. A light brush against these stinging caterpillars can leave your skin with itchy hives. The oak processionary moth: a new health hazard? Apply some ice to the wound immediately after the sting, and go to the doctor if it starts to swell. Tussock Moths are most recognizable when they are caterpillars, of which there are many different kinds. Others are a type of yellow caterpillar that have white and blue stripes. What makes reactions to caterpillars most confounding is that they can easily be mistaken for something else and therefore not treated properly. Generally, these are long yellowish-beige caterpillars with brown, white, and yellow patterns along their body. The females are much larger than the males, but both rest with distinctive forward-facing furry legs. One of the most toxic stinging caterpillar species is the Southern Flannel caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis). The stiff spines on the Giant Leopard caterpillar are not venomous but can prickle the skin. (2). Before you can carry on with a treatment program, you need to be certain you are dealing with Tussock Moths. The Stinging Rose caterpillar has clusters of toxic spikes along its body. All of the hollow spines contain irritating venom that can cause a painful “bite.” If the spines break off in your skin, poison is slowly released. Reacting to what it perceives to be a threat, the immune system will flood the body with a pro-inflammatory compound called histamine. In the Limacodidae family of slug-type caterpillars, the Saddleback has spiny horns that sting. The tussock caterpillars are out in force and they can be quite a nuisance for folks living under or around heavy tree cover. The White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar is covered with them and the chemicals that are transferred onto skin when they are touched can cause an allergic reaction in humans resulting in redness, irritation, and welts. The end of the caterpillar also has 2 white dots that look like menacing eyes. The oak processionary moth: a new health hazard?. 2012 Mar 30;61(12);209-11. There are prominent spiky horns along its side, front, and rear. The back has 2 orange stripes running up it. Some other insect larvae can look similar to moth or butterfly larvae. Although not all species of caterpillars are poisonous, they can do tremendous damage to plant foliage. The South American Caterpillar (Lonomia obliqua) can be deadly and dangerous. This caterpillar turns into the beautiful Mourning Cloak butterfly. They also can leave setae behind on items kids commonly come in direct contact with. The black segments of the body are covered by clusters of white freckles. Some of the spikiest species of caterpillars you will find are the larvae of the Buck moth caterpillar (Hemileuca maia). These are barbed bristles or spines that can lodge in your skin and break off. On the other hand, if there is extreme swelling with or without respiratory symptoms, it is best to play it safe and either call your pediatrician or go to your nearest urgent care center. At the other end is a dark brown hair pencil pointing at 45 degrees upward. Urticating hairs are barbed hairs that easily break off the caterpillar’s body when the caterpillar is brushed against and can embed in a person or animal’s skin. Caterpillar Stings A Painful Price for Curiosity The Bottom Line. The Giant Leopard caterpillar (Hypercompe scribonia) is a fuzzy black type of caterpillar with red markings. The urticating spines can give you a nasty “bite” if the venom gets into your skin. More information is available on How to rear caterpillars. In some years the larvae are very numerous and become a problem when they leave their host plants to search for suitable sites to spin their cocoons. The caterpillar characteristic that's usually most tempting—the fuzzy tufts that make them seem like the cuddly stuffed toys of the insect world—is the one that can cause trouble. The fuzzy hairs of White-Marked Tussock caterpillar can cause skin irritation or rash. Repeat with fresh pieces of tape until you've gotten out all of the hair that you can. Though extremely rare, there have been cases of anaphylaxis in children who have touched certain caterpillars. These furry caterpillars are considered dangerous insects due to their nasty sting. Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. Another type of green stinging caterpillar is the Spiny Oak slug caterpillar (Euclea delphinii). The males have more contrasting markings and usually smaller. The Spiny Oak slug has flattened look and a number of interesting marking patterns on its back. The venomous spines on the White Flannel caterpillar can cause a painful sting. These extremely toxic larvae can grow up to 2” (5.5 cm) long and be shades of green or brown. In 2011, 23 children in Florida developed rashes from exposure to white-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma) caterpillars., According to the report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of the kids were initially misdiagnosed with a variety of conditions, including chickenpox, molluscum contagiosum (a sexually transmitted infection), and even potentially life-threatening MRSA infections.. Usually, when someone refers to a caterpillar bite, they are talking about a caterpillar sting. It seemed out of place somehow and far too exotic for a Sussex garden. Stinging caterpillars have evolved stinging hair or urticating spines as an effective means of defense. The name of ‘puss caterpillar’ comes from the fact that they look like tiny Persian cats. In some people, an allergic skin reaction may happen from handling a Monkey slug caterpillar. Pruritic dermatitis (itching) is commonly seen in small children who come into contact with it, or its cocoon, on the playground. These are brightly-colored black, yellow, red, and white caterpillars. At the rear end are prominent red defensive glands with black long tails on either side. The markings are usually darker and more extensive in the males, which also have feathered orange-brown antennae. Stinging and Venomous Caterpillars Stinging caterpillars don’t sting with a stinger the way wasps or bees do, they have stinging hairs called urticating hairs. The Io moth caterpillar has green spikes that feel very unpleasant if their venom penetrates your skin, The Io moth caterpillar (Automeris io) is covered in tufts of green spikes that look like pine needles. The white-marked tussock moth caterpillar doesn't sting, but the fur can cause irritation in some people. Moth CaterpillarsThe description as “like a slug” may refer to the thicker appearance of the tussock moth caterpillar body, as compared to another possible candidate, the white cedar moth caterpillar. Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The little tufts can become airborne and land on bare skin. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These black caterpillars from the Nymphalidae order can grow up to 2” (5 cm) in length. Stinging spines stick out from around the peripheral of the larvae. Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. There are various Tussock Moth Caterpillars that have long tufts of white, black, brown or yellow hairs that can result in painful stings. Recommended reference books. It's important to know that sometimes a child can get a rash without actually putting his fingers on a caterpillar, especially in areas where there are a lot of the critters at once. See the photo below for an example of what symptoms of a rash caused by a caterpillar may look like on a human arm. It is their preference of munching rose bushes that gives them their common name. Megalopyge opercularis caterpillar stings reported to Texas poison centers, Caterpillar-associated rashes in children — Hillsborough County, Florida 2011, Beware of the caterpillar: anaphylaxis to the spotted tussock moth caterpillar, Lophocampa maculata. This caterpillar gives a nasty bite and is also called a puss moth, woolly slug, or Italian asp. Its spiky look and bright colors are signs to humans and predators to stay away. These caterpillars are found anywhere from Washington DC to Texas, Arizona, and Florida to Mexico and South America. One of the most colorful stinging larvae is the Stinging Rose caterpillar (Parasa indetermina). A sting from a cup moth caterpillar is not fatal, but can be very painful. Reacting to what it perceives to be a threat, the immune system will flood the body with a pro-inflammatory compound called histamine… A large caterpillar, 1-3/4″ to 2-1/4″ long when mature. The result in some people can be allergic reactions such as itching, nausea, blistering, or even abdominal upset. It is about 2” (around 4.5 – 5.5 cm) long, with rows of tubercles with spines of different sizes. Some examples of species in this subfamily include the white-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma), whose larvae damage orchard trees, and the exotic, invasive gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar). One of the recommendations by the CDC in response to the Florida outbreak was to advise schools and daycare centers where caterpillars are common to power wash playground equipment. These are some of the largest stinging caterpillars and can measure up to 2.5” (6.5 cm). This can cause a burning skin sensation similar to being stung or bitten. One of the most unusual hairy stinging caterpillars you will come across is the White-Marked Tussock moth caterpillar (Orgyia leucostygma). These caterpillars are identified by tufts of grayish-white or sometimes brown spines sticking out from black and white bands that wrap around its body. (1), Also, the spikes or spines of some stinging caterpillar species contain toxins. After all, these fuzzy little creatures are kind of cute, and, eventually, they turn into butterflies or moths. Look out for a black-looking caterpillar with yellow dots covering its back. A Near Look-a-Like Tussock. The Spiny Oak slug caterpillar has venomous spikes all over its body. The University of Florida says that some caterpillar species have stinging hairs called urticating hairs. It is yellow-brown to … How to Identify the Insect That Got You. The Pale Tussock caterpillar is easily reared but must be overwintered as a pupa. If your child develops a rash after an encounter with a caterpillar, it usually won't be serious and can be treated at home. The spines contain toxic substances that cause a lot of skin irritation. If the reaction is immediate and mild, you will first need to remove as many of the tiny hairs that have rubbed off onto the skin. are often confused with white-marked tussock moth caterpillars. These caterpillars only inhabit countries in Central and South America. If they feed in large numbers, they can quickly decimate vegetation. The little larvae strip the tissue off the leaves, but avoid the veins because there is a great deal of latex-like white sap that could glue them in place. This green type of caterpillar starts life as orange worm before turning lime green. The soft fluffy hairs conceal sharp stinging toxic spines than can cause pain if they sting you. colorful (stinging) caterpillars. This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing. Some people have a severe allergic response to hairs that simply penetrate and break-off. These larvae belong to the ‘woolly bear’ caterpillars due to their thick-looking coat. The descriptions of stinging toxic caterpillars in this list are of mature larvae. They love to feed on apple, hickory, oaks, and maples. The hairs on the Monkey slug caterpillar can cause skin irritation. The Saddleback caterpillar has spiny venomous horns that cause painful sting. Jonathan Jassey, DO, is a board-certified private pediatrician at Bellmore Merrick Medical in Bellmore, New York. A fluffy mound of fur measuring up to an inch (2.5 cm) long with a distinct tail. This is a bright colorful hairless caterpillar that has venomous spikes all over it. One of the features to help identify a Giant Leopard caterpillar are red bands between its segments. Yellow and red dots cover this ‘flat-looking’ caterpillar. Predominately black or dark brown in color, most species have faint white markings, tufts of spines, and jaggy venomous horns that identify them. The caterpillars incorporate those hairs into the cocoon for protection. The pain from the sting comes from the stiff spines than can prick the skin. Crowned slug caterpillars have an almost spherical green shape. Many caterpillars have hairs or spines. Afterward, wash the skin with soap and water and dab on a low-potency steroid cream. Like all caterpillars, species of stinging caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies and moths. The black spines of the Spiny Elm caterpillar contain toxic substance that can cause skin irritation. Although this isn’t a colorful caterpillar, there are jaggy dark spines sticking out all over the place. The caterpillars of the definite tussock moth (Orgyia definite) (I love the common name!) This caterpillar is identified by clusters of bright yellow spines sticking out from its body. Though it has many appearances as it matures, the most popular stage has black hairs at the head and rear end are split by a yellow or red-orange band of hairs in the middle of the body. These multi-colored caterpillar has long wispy hairs and tufts of stinging spines. The prolegs are also red in color. There is a jet-black line running up the back that seems to join the dots together. It is important to remember that caterpillars go through many stages of growth before they become moths or butterflies. The males often come to light in larger numbers than the females. So, stinging caterpillars don’t sting in the same way that wasps or bees sting. You can use some sticky tape to carefully remove the barbed spines or hairs. They come in various brilliant colors like yellow, orange and black. These are often seen when the large caterpillar rolls up into a ball or when it’s moving. While it’s true that an encounter with a caterpillar isn't as potentially dangerous as, say, a bee sting or a tick bite, caterpillars aren't always as innocent as they look. Rows of yellow dots around each segment give the caterpillar a spotted appearance. The unusually-shaped head also has white and black stripes on it. The name Variable Oak Leaf caterpillar (Lochmaeus manteo) is very appropriate as its colors and markings can change from species to species. Pale Tussock Calliteara pudibunda (Linnaeus, 1758) Wingspan 40-60 mm. A long black and white caterpillar with red dots and a spiky fuzzy appearance. The Smeared Dagger caterpillar has poisonous spine tufts around its body. Otherwise, I would have trundled over this one with the ride-on mower. You can identify this species by the red and white stripes running the length of its side. Although caterpillars have jaws to feed on leaves and other insects, they don’t bite people. It is also important to take a good description of the type of caterpillar that stung you. Unlike most varieties of stinging caterpillars, these giant moth caterpillars don’t have urticating spines. Though the bright green "saddle" makes you want to take a closer look at … These are surrounded by smaller white bristles. Tussock caterpillars can sting. Avoiding caterpillars is best. MMWR. There are also poisonous horns at either end as well as on the back. They get their name due to the fluffy tufts or "tussocks" of hair that grow out on the insect. The caterpillar characteristic that's usually most tempting—the fuzzy tufts that make them seem like the cuddly stuffed toys of the insect world—is the one that can cause trouble. The caterpillar stings from sharp-looking black spines poking out from its body. The Saddleback caterpillar (Acharia stimulea) has an angry look that is able to ward off many predators and humans alike. There is also a species of poisonous caterpillar in South America that is so toxic that its ‘sting’ has been known to cause death. Browntail Moth. The most dangerous caterpillar on the planet due to its highly toxic venom contained in the spines. Toxicity: (One of the most venomous caterpillars in the U.S. There are very few short spines on this species and it is not a stinging caterpillar. Due to their painful bite, this species is also called ‘asp’ caterpillars as their bite can be as painful as a snake’s one. Although people refer to a ‘caterpillar bite,’ they are actually talking about the stinging sensation from urticating caterpillar hairs. They feed on tree leaves such as apple, cherry, elm, spruce, rose, and chestnut. You can tell these apart because caterpillars have a maximum of 5 pairs of prolegs. Other types of crawling bugs may have more. These symptoms can appear within minutes and last for one or more days. If you find a fuzzy or spiny caterpillar which inflicts a painful sting upon contact, you probably have found a stinging caterpillar. Hickory tussock moth. This type of caterpillar doesn’t sting but can cause skin irritation. The Variable Oak Leaf caterpillar can be dangerous as it spits out acid when under threat. Saddleback Caterpillar. Green spikes stick out from all parts of its body. Some furry caterpillars or ones with horns are completely harmless. Study Shows Nut Allergy Incidents Spike on Halloween, Bitten or Stung? However, care needs to be taken as the crawling grub can spit out acid when under threat. The sycamore tussock moth (Halysidota harrisii – Arctiidae), fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea – Arctiidae), and walnut caterpillar (Datana integerrima – Notodontidae) are good examples of non-stinging “hairy” caterpillars frequently found on trees. Other species of caterpillar, like the southern flannel moth (Megalopyge opercularis) indigenous to parts of Texas, are known to inflict stings and trigger a localized skin reaction.. The caterpillars go through a number of instars or growth stages before becoming as large as they will grow as larvae. Browntail moths (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) were introduced into North America from … Rahlenbeck S, Utikal J. The sting from Saddlebacks come from the urticating spines on the horns and rest of its body. Tussock moths in the genus Orgyiaare small moths that are best-known because of their attractive larvae. Even just the slightest touch of these stinging caterpillars can cause a lot of pain that lasts an hour or so. Only the three species that are found in Florida will be discussed here. Some individuals react … On some people, the inflammation and pain can last for many days and cause allergic reactions. White lines run up the back and along the side. 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