The body is adorned with clusters of stiff spines.

For allergic reactions, such as generalized itching or difficulty breathing, see a physician immediately. The caterpillar grows into the moth species Megalopyge opercularis. AgriLife Extension's online Bookstore offers educational information and resources related to our many areas of expertise and programming; from agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources to nutrition, wellness for families and youth, and much more.

Description: The saddleback caterpillar is an unusual looking caterpillar with a brown body marked with a bright green area resembling saddle blanket with an oval purplish-brown spot in its center. Michael Merchant, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Urban Entomologist, Texas AgriLife Extension Service. For additional information, contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent or search for other state Extension offices.

Erythematous (blood-colored) spots may appear at the site of the sting. Larvae feed on leaves of many shrubs and bushes, such as hollies. Adult puss moths emerge in late spring or early summer to lay several hundred eggs on favored host trees, such as oaks, pecan, elm, hackberry and other trees. What are mouthparts on insects like, and how can I see them?

Their color varies from yellow or gray to reddish-brown, or a mixture of colors.

Other common stinging caterpillars in Texas include the Io moth, buck moth and saddleback moth caterpillars. The best known flannel moth and stinging caterpillar in Texas is the southern flannel moth, or puss moth caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis. Habitat and Food Source(s): Caterpillars have chewing mouthparts. Adult moth of the Southern flannel moth, Megalopyge opercularis, Photo by Laura Bellmore.

2.3. Hypersensitive individuals may experience a generalized systemic reaction requiring medical attention. A unified pipeline receives the first request and the following events take place: 2.1. In some cases, such as on school playgrounds, the best solution may be educating students and teachers on what the caterpillars are, and the importance of not touching with bare hands. Pain usually subsides within an hour and spots disappear in a day or so. Puss moth caterpillars rarely cause serious damage to trees; however they can pose a health hazard to children and gardeners. Order: Lepidoptera. Adults emerge in late spring or early summer and oviposit eggs on plant leaves. Damage: 2.2. Caterpillars may also be seen feeding on dwarf yaupon and other shrubs.

Puss moth caterpillars can be controlled when they become abundant by spraying with a residual pesticide such as permethrin, cyfluthrin or similar sprays labeled for control of caterpillars on ornamental plants.

WARNING:  Do not handle caterpillars (larvae) with bare hands!!

For caterpillars with stout spines (such Io moth and saddleback caterpillar), try carefully applying cellophane tape to, and stripping it from, the sting site. Contact with these causes a burning sensation and inflammation that can be as painful as a bee sting. Caterpillars feed on leaves of many shrubs and bushes, such as hollies. Browser sends this request to the web server. Among the long body hairs are shorter spines that discharge venom upon contact.

One to two generations occur each year, though southern flannel moth caterpillars tend to be more common in the fall.

The time it takes for a caterpillar to pupate varies widely according to species. Click for a hub of Extension resources related to the current COVID-19 situation. The head and legs are not visible from above. Adults moths can be collected at lights. This helps remove the irritating spines. Other stinging caterpillars include larval stages of: the io moth, Automeris io (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae); the hag moth, Phobetron pithecium (Abbot & Smith) (Limacodidae);the saddleback caterpillar, Sibine stimulea (Clemens) (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae); and the buck moth, Hemileuca maia (Drury) (Saturniidae). Life cycle: The buck moth caterpillar resembles the io moth caterpillar but is purple-black with a reddish head and lacks the body stripes. The spines, when brushed against the skin, produce a painful rash or sting. The adult moth has blunt wings covered with long, wavy hair and a wingspan of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. The other phases include eggs (first phase), pupae (third phase), and the butterfly (fourth/final phase). Their color varies from yellow or gray to reddish-brown, or a mixture of colors.

Photo by Drees.

Life Cycle: The winter is spent in the cocoon or pupal stage.

Cocoons can be found on the trunk or branches of the host plant. Scientific Name: Megalopyge opercularis (J. E. Smith)

The application o… Common Name: Puss caterpillar or “asp” The head and legs are not visible from above. User makes a request for accessing application resource, a page. Description: Puss caterpillars are completely covered with long, silken, brownish hairs.

They can grow to be about 2 ½ inches long. Puss caterpillars are completely covered with long, silken, brownish hairs. Intense, throbbing pain develops immediately or within five minutes of contact with the caterpillar. The caterpillars are most common in the fall. In Texas these caterpillars are  commonly known as “asps”. Puss caterpillar or “asp”, Megalopyge opercularis (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Megalopygidae). Response objects are created. Eye injuries should also be referred to a specialist immediately. Top level items in the application are compiled.

The io moth caterpillar is pale green with yellowish and maroon stripes edged with white along each side of the body. Stings from the southern flannel moth caterpillar. Adult moths emerge in late spring or early summer and lay eggs on host plant leaves. Adults are rarely encountered. The poisonous hairs or spines are hollow and connected to underlying poison glands.



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