(3). These are brightly-colored black, yellow, red, and white caterpillars. In some people, an allergic skin reaction may happen from handling a Monkey slug caterpillar. Bright green and orange colors, a slightly spherical shape, and spiny yellow horns are identification features of this caterpillar. Let’s look in more detail at how to identify species of caterpillars that are known to sting and cause skin irritation. Tussock moth caterpillars (family Erebidae) can have both types of long, tapering hairs; however, the effects may be enhanced by a person's overall sensitivity. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years. Many caterpillars have hairs or spines. The Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British Isles – Jim Porter. 2014;5(2):113-5. doi:10.2500/ar.2014.5.0086, What Parents Should Know About Caterpillars, Ⓒ 2020 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved. These caterpillars only inhabit countries in Central and South America. Saddleback Caterpillar. Usually, when someone refers to a caterpillar bite, they are talking about a caterpillar sting. Crowned slug caterpillars have an almost spherical green shape. 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. One reason for all the attention they receive (during late summer and early fall) is that, unfortunately, the hairs on these caterpillars can cause a very itchy rash. The urticating spines can give you a nasty “bite” if the venom gets into your skin. The back has 2 orange stripes running up it. Rows of yellow dots around each segment give the caterpillar a spotted appearance. You can tell these apart because caterpillars have a maximum of 5 pairs of prolegs. Puss caterpillar. This caterpillar turns into the beautiful Mourning Cloak butterfly. One of the features to help identify a Giant Leopard caterpillar are red bands between its segments. The white-marked tussock moth caterpillar doesn't sting, but the fur can cause irritation in some people. 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. A light brush against these stinging caterpillars can leave your skin with itchy hives. 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. Some furry caterpillars or ones with horns are completely harmless. 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. You can identify this species by the red and white stripes running the length of its side. 2012 Mar 30;61(12);209-11. This is a bright colorful hairless caterpillar that has venomous spikes all over it. States most commonly affected are Louisiana and Virginia. Although this caterpillar doesn’t sting, the fine hairs (called setae) can cause irritation or allergic reactions. This caterpillar is identified by clusters of bright yellow spines sticking out from its body. Recommended reference books. It depends on the species of caterpillar. Like all caterpillars, species of stinging caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies and moths. One of the strangest-looking hairy caterpillars is the Monkey slug caterpillar (Phobetron pithecium). Ranging in colors from yellow to green to red, the Stinging Rose caterpillar has clusters of spiny horns covering its soft body. The soft fluffy hairs conceal sharp stinging toxic spines than can cause pain if they sting you. Growing to about 1.3” (3.5 cm) long, these ‘tussock’ caterpillars have an exotic appearance due to their bright colors and unusual tufts of hairs. The black segments of the body are covered by clusters of white freckles. Although this isn’t enough to kill a person, they can cause severe burning sensations under the skin. Br J Gen Pract. Buck Moth Caterpillar. They feed on tree leaves such as apple, cherry, elm, spruce, rose, and chestnut. The caterpillar stings from sharp-looking black spines poking out from its body. The result in some people can be allergic reactions such as itching, nausea, blistering, or even abdominal upset. Wilderness Environ Med. It is important to remember that caterpillars go through many stages of growth before they become moths or butterflies. One of the most toxic stinging caterpillar species is the Southern Flannel caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis). This can cause irritation similar to handling fiberglass. These are slowly released when caterpillar hairs sting a person. Avoiding caterpillars is best. Touching a caterpillar can cause redness, swelling, itching, rash, welts, and small, fluid-filled sacs called vesicles. There are very few short spines on this species and it is not a stinging caterpillar. To do this, simply rub a strip of tape across the affected skin as you would with a lint roller. Stinging spines stick out from around the peripheral of the larvae. The Giant Leopard caterpillar (Hypercompe scribonia) is a fuzzy black type of caterpillar with red markings. Reacting to what it perceives to be a threat, the immune system will flood the body with a pro-inflammatory compound called histamine… If they feed in large numbers, they can quickly decimate vegetation. Although caterpillars have jaws to feed on leaves and other insects, they don’t bite people. Due to their painful bite, this species is also called ‘asp’ caterpillars as their bite can be as painful as a snake’s one. Deaths due to coming in to contact with these deadly caterpillars have been reported in Brazil. Yellow and red dots cover this ‘flat-looking’ caterpillar. If allergic reactions occur, you should seek medical attention. See the photo below for an example of what symptoms of a rash caused by a caterpillar may look like on a human arm. More information is available on How to rear caterpillars. The fuzzy hairs of White-Marked Tussock caterpillar can cause skin irritation or rash One of the most unusual hairy stinging caterpillars you will come across is the White-Marked Tussock moth caterpillar (Orgyia leucostygma). There may also be a burning or stinging sensation. The oak processionary moth: a new health hazard?. The segmented caterpillar body has black and yellow stripes running its length. Although the caterpillar has a flattened shape, a raised ridge in the middle means it is not completely flat. This type of caterpillar doesn’t sting but can cause skin irritation. Caterpillar Stings A Painful Price for Curiosity The Bottom Line. The Buck moth caterpillar is a large stinging caterpillar and one of the most poisonous ones. 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. Apply some ice to the wound immediately after the sting, and go to the doctor if it starts to swell. Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. You can use some sticky tape to carefully remove the barbed spines or hairs. The University of Florida says that some caterpillar species have stinging hairs called urticating hairs. Some species have hollow, barbed hairs that sting with toxic spines. This means that immature larvae can look different from caterpillars just before the pupation stage. A long black caterpillar with yellow stripes could be the Smeared Dagger caterpillar (Acronicta oblinita). The unusually-shaped head also has white and black stripes on it. It is thought that exposure to the creature's tiny hairs, called setae, triggers an overactive immune response in some people. Though extremely rare, there have been cases of anaphylaxis in children who have touched certain caterpillars. The males often come to light in larger numbers than the females. However, the effects may be enhanced by a person’s overall sensitivity. These long caterpillars with bright colors have spine tufts sticking out all over the body. After hatching from eggs, caterpillars are ravenous eaters and mainly consume plant and tree leaves. 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. Though the bright green "saddle" makes you want to take a closer look at … Stinging Rose caterpillars are found in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and other states on the Eastern coast of the US. Before you can carry on with a treatment program, you need to be certain you are dealing with Tussock Moths. 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 Spiny Oak slug has flattened look and a number of interesting marking patterns on its back. This caterpillar gives a nasty bite and is also called a puss moth, woolly slug, or Italian asp. Of all the bugs and insects kids come into contact with, caterpillars seem pretty harmless. Study Shows Nut Allergy Incidents Spike on Halloween, Bitten or Stung? They come in a few different colors but all typically have red heads, two furry projections on their heads, one on the rear, and four dense tufts of … 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. The markings are usually darker and more extensive in the males, which also have feathered orange-brown antennae. There are prominent spiky horns along its side, front, and rear. Mostly found in states in the Southern US, these furry caterpillars may look soft but their looks are deceiving. Caterpillars that are toxic and sting are generally hairy or have spikes on their bodies. This is a square green patch with a large brown dot in the middle. One of the most colorful stinging larvae is the Stinging Rose caterpillar (Parasa indetermina). Although white-marked tussock moth caterpillars are distinctive in their markings and coloration, other tussocks may be mistaken for them or vice versa. 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 tufts of toxic spines sticking out around the sides are the stinging part of this caterpillar. Tussock caterpillars (Erebidae family / previously Lymantriidae) were very abundant in Maine in 2011 and they were ‘itching’ for attention! The name Variable Oak Leaf caterpillar (Lochmaeus manteo) is very appropriate as its colors and markings can change from species to species. They gradually fade to white or beige at the tail end. Pale Tussock Calliteara pudibunda (Linnaeus, 1758) Wingspan 40-60 mm. So, before picking up an exotic looking caterpillar, you should identify the species to see if it is a stinging kind. 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. Remove spines by applying and removing tape … Browntail Moth. There are also poisonous horns at either end as well as on the back. Caterpillar-associated rashes in children — Hillsborough County, Florida 2011. After all, these fuzzy little creatures are kind of cute, and, eventually, they turn into butterflies or moths. How to Identify the Insect That Got You. The hairs of the Southern Flannel Moth (Asp) Caterpillar conceal sharp toxic spines. 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 South American Caterpillar (Lonomia obliqua) can be deadly and dangerous. There is also a species of poisonous caterpillar in South America that is so toxic that its ‘sting’ has been known to cause death. To properly identify these caterpillars requires a prepared specimen with a microscope. What makes reactions to caterpillars most confounding is that they can easily be mistaken for something else and therefore not treated properly. 2015;65(637):435-6. doi:10.3399/bjgp15X686341, Forrester MB. Buck moth caterpillars tend to feed mostly on oak trees. These furry caterpillars are considered dangerous insects due to their nasty sting. This white caterpillar is the juvenile stage of the hickory tussock moth (Lophocampa caryae). Although this isn’t a colorful caterpillar, there are jaggy dark spines sticking out all over the place. Some individuals react … The Variable Oak Leaf caterpillar can be dangerous as it spits out acid when under threat. Eggs are usually laid in May and June on a variety of trees including hickory, walnut, ash, elm, maple and oak. Hickory tussock moth. They love to feed on apple, hickory, oaks, and maples. The little tufts can become airborne and land on bare skin. Reacting to what it perceives to be a threat, the immune system will flood the body with a pro-inflammatory compound called histamine. Brushing against this type of caterpillar can leave you with an itchy, irritating rash. Tussock caterpillars can sting. The identifying feature of the Saddleback is a saddle-like marking on its back. Otherwise, I would have trundled over this one with the ride-on mower. It is their preference of munching rose bushes that gives them their common name. Browntail moths (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) were introduced into North America from … Others are a type of yellow caterpillar that have white and blue stripes. The females are much larger than the males, but both rest with distinctive forward-facing furry legs. The venomous spines on the White Flannel caterpillar can cause a painful sting. 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. 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. This can incite an array of allergic symptoms involving the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.. One of the most toxic and deadliest caterpillars is the Giant Silkworm moth or South American Caterpillar (Lonomia obliqua). At the other end is a dark brown hair pencil pointing at 45 degrees upward. colorful (stinging) caterpillars. There is a jet-black line running up the back that seems to join the dots together. The Smeared Dagger caterpillar has poisonous spine tufts around its body. The Stinging Rose caterpillar has clusters of toxic spikes along its body. The larvae are a bright greenish-yellow, with four tufts of golden yellow hairs. The caterpillars go through a number of instars or growth stages before becoming as large as they will grow as larvae. 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. A Near Look-a-Like Tussock. Before picking up any kind of caterpillar, it is important to identify the species to know if it is harmless or not. Other types of hairy caterpillars have urticating spines that can irritate the skin and may release poison. Do poisonous caterpillars sting? Just because a caterpillar looks spiky, hairy, fuzzy, or furry doesn’t automatically mean it’s dangerous. If a child touches their eyes or nose after handling a caterpillar or places one in their mouth, there could be a more serious reaction. The Smeared Dagger moth caterpillar can be described as a black and yellow variety. The spines contain toxic substances that cause a lot of skin irritation. These are often seen when the large caterpillar rolls up into a ball or when it’s moving. MMWR. Protruding light green spikes covering a green body are a warning sign not to handle this caterpillar. One feature of the White-Marked Tussock caterpillar are the long hair pencils on each end. 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. One of the most unusual hairy stinging caterpillars you will come across is the White-Marked Tussock moth caterpillar (Orgyia leucostygma). All caterpillars are larvae that belong to the order of moths and butterflies called Lepidoptera in the class of Insecta. The venomous spines on White Flannel moths can cause a nasty sting. Although many caterpillars in the Lonomia genus are stinging caterpillars, it is only the Lonomia obliqua and Lonomia achelous species that are dangerous enough to cause death. This too, has a body and head like a leaf roller, tail that looks like hair strands, stings, and could be seen as having ridges down its back. This green type of caterpillar starts life as orange worm before turning lime green. They get their name due to the fluffy tufts or "tussocks" of hair that grow out on the insect. The most dangerous caterpillar on the planet due to its highly toxic venom contained in the spines. Orgyia detrita (the fir tussock moth) is the most common of the species in Florida followed by Orgyia leucostigma (the whitemarked tussock moth) and finally Orgyia definita(the definite … Other types of crawling bugs may have more. Toxicity: (One of the most venomous caterpillars in the U.S. These multi-colored caterpillar has long wispy hairs and tufts of stinging spines. Generally, these are long yellowish-beige caterpillars with brown, white, and yellow patterns along their body. 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. This brown-colored caterpillar looks as if it has hairy arms and resembles a squashed hairy spider. The Spiny Elm caterpillar (Nymphalis antiopa) is a striking type of spiny black caterpillar. Most stinging caterpillars are identified by spine or fine hairs covering their body. 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. The caterpillar looks black, yellow, and brown. Some brown patterns can resemble an oak leaf. White lines run up the back and along the side. The Saddleback caterpillar (Acharia stimulea) has an angry look that is able to ward off many predators and humans alike. A large caterpillar, 1-3/4″ to 2-1/4″ long when mature. This can cause a burning skin sensation similar to being stung or bitten. There are even tiny spikes on the 4 pairs of prolegs on its central segments. The hairs may irritate the skin of people sensitive to them, but there are no known cases of systemic allergic reactions in response to the hairs of this species. Colors on these stinging insects are yellow, brown, green, and orange. (1), Also, the spikes or spines of some stinging caterpillar species contain toxins. They can range in color from gray-white to dark brown and almost black. Rahlenbeck S, Utikal J. The pain from the sting comes from the stiff spines than can prick the skin. 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. 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). Pruritic dermatitis (itching) is commonly seen in small children who come into contact with it, or its cocoon, on the playground. Unlike most varieties of stinging caterpillars, these giant moth caterpillars don’t have urticating spines. To identify caterpillars, it is important to take note of their size, color, type of bristles or spines, and habitat. This ridge has 2 yellow lines running up the green body. 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. These are surrounded by smaller white bristles. These caterpillars are found anywhere from Washington DC to Texas, Arizona, and Florida to Mexico and South America.