an ambulant toupee?

 No, it’s a megalopygid moth caterpillar (via Science Alert on Facebook). 

Image: Rainforest Expeditions (on Facebook)

Megalopygids are also called ‘flannel moths’ (you can see images of both adults and larvae here – the larvae are quite diverse in appearance). I do wonder, after looking at this adult, if they aren’t related to the poodle moth I shared with you a few posts ago.

Apparently the larvae, which are 2-3cm long, are called ‘puss caterpillars‘, presumably because the long hairs that cover their bodies make them look vaguely (very vaguely!) cat-like**. But you wouldn’t want to stroke them. Hidden in all that seemingly soft fluffiness are spines tipped with venom that causes a burning pain, & inflammation that can last for several days – with the nastiest species, in a worst-case scenario the victim may go into shock. So you’d want to restrain the urge to touch, if you came across one (in the southern US, Mexico, or Central America).


** I’m afraid I don’t think ‘cat’ when I see that image; it reminds me more of a certain millionaire’s hairpiece…

3 thoughts on “an ambulant toupee?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *