Jul 2, 2007

Beware the Furby Caterpillar

At first glance this puss caterpillar looks to be quite endearing. As Patrizio (who sent me the link) says, it is reminiscent of a furby. But don't be fooled by the fuzziness of this North American critter. No, underneath that pile of bug-fur lies a grub with one of the most severe stings known to caterpillars.

The sting is delivered through spines that are interspersed among the innocuous-looking fuzz. If you are unfortunate enough to pick one up, you'll get pricked by said spines. A legion will form on your skin, following by redness and the growth of painful, blood-filled cysts.

In short, beware the furby caterpillar.


Thanks for the photo, Patrizio.

Photo
source: Crypto Zoology

11 comments:

Kritter said...

When I grew up in Texas we had these things all over. We called them "stinging asps" and they lived mostly in live oak trees ("live oak" is the name of the species, not a description of its state of being). Live oaks are broad, spreading trees with very large branches that run horizontal to the ground--great for climbing until you encounter one of these damned creatures.

Denita TwoDragons said...

Kritter--what part of Texas did you live in? I grew up in Wimberley, and I live near Lake LBJ now.

And oh yeah, I have not-so-fond memories of being nabbed by one of these things myself. I'd rather be stung by a bee or a scorpion than run across these infernal beasties!

--TwoDragons

Kritter said...

We moved from New York state to the Galveston Bay area (Clear Lake, Webster, League City) in 1972 when I was a kid. I was really tied in knots about all the ants, spiders, stinging caterpillars, chiggers, etc. I lived in Corpus Christi, too, and that was even worse.

Anonymous said...

Ooh man, that area is HORRIBLE when it comes to bitey-stingey-itchy-nasties! We get 'em here too, but nowhere near so bad as they come down there. I think the ground is permeated with bug-steroids or something!

My parents have a beach house in Surfside. Great place to visit, but you couldn't pay me to live there!

--TwoDragons

Denita TwoDragons said...

Oops, forgot to put my name...sowwy...

--TwoDragons

sapien said...

That li'l guy looks like what would happen if a kitten had kittens.

Kritter said...

If the kitten was crossed with a nasty hornet.

Nekoneko061 said...

Yeah, I live in Houston and in the fall they are everywhere but they are kinda striped. We used to mess with them and our hands would be soooo red. They did hurt though!

Danielle said...

I live in Florida and we get them about twice a year, in the spring and fall... When I first moved here, the had the horrible misfortune of stepping on one... Not Nice! Now I have the displeasure of constantly trying to keep my 3 year old son from touching them whenever he sees one!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm in Austin, Texas, and I found one of these. I touched it, and it didnt sting me. It looks EXACTLY like that, but it doesn't sting like everyone said. It feels soft, like kitten fur. It hasn't hurt me at all. So is it the same thing??

Anonymous said...

Hello!! I live in Brazil and I saw a puss caterpillar here!