Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by biggstr6, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. biggstr6


    Apr 26, 2005
    Took these back in Sept on a camping trip. I dont know if these white guys had anything to do with it , but my son broke out itching after holding one of these guys for awhile. It might have been something else though .
    D2x w/105 nikkor and a dusty sensor.



  2. I cannot identify these without a lot lot more information, but what I can tell you is that EITHER of them would bring your son out in a rash.

    The first one has urticating hairs and the second is certainly poisonous to birds. I have a feeling that some type of irritating liquid could be released by the caterpillar through the orange knobs on its body.

    Bob F.
  3. Bob is right. I can tell you an intimidating experience I had myself in Burma 5 years ago. When I visited Alaungdaw Katthapa National Park in December I noticed large clusters (about 1 sqm) of grey-colored Lymantriid caterpillars on tree trunks. In a side note I mentioned to my guide not to touch them to avoid skin rush or even worse things.

    One day when I stalked through 2m high undergrowth to check my flight interception traps, I must have accidentally touched one of these caterpillars sitting hidden on a leaf (that was about 3 p.m.). Back in the camp I noticed a little "furry" patch on the palm of my right hand and on my wrist. I tried to remove them with a fine forceps - of course many of the hairs broke off. At 7 p.m. all of a sudden, I started shivering and got a terrible headache. It got even worse by 8 p.m.
    Having been there only for 3 days I could exclude malaria, so the only explanation was the caterpillar. I had heavy outbreaks of sweat and changed my T-shirt 3 times till midnight (I felt like having high fever) and then suddenly all was over. Three months later a slight pain returned on my wrist which also subsided after a few days.

    All this from just one caterpiller. I wouldn't want to know what would have happened if I had run into one of the large clusters with bare chest. I have heard of fatal casualties of soldiers in tropical areas.

    Here's the photo:


    In the temperate areas there are no such really dangerous ones but still (as your case shows) it is not wise to touch any of the hairy moth caterpillars. They usually can cause skin rush or somewhat more serious problems if you are allergic. Our gipsy moth (Lymantria dispar) can become a problem in years of mass reproduction.

    The hairs are hollow and are combined with a poison gland. Of course, noone likes to be eaten.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2005
  4. biggstr6


    Apr 26, 2005
    WOW , . I have learned to be more careful .
    Thanks for the reply
  5. Those are some weird caterpillers. The only ones I use to mess with when I was little was the the ones with no hair.

    It is interesting to see what kind of butterflies these turn into though.
  6. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Just found this post.

    Most informative Harry.
    Thank you.
    Sure glad your ok from that.
    Makes me wonder what might linger in the body from an experience like you mention, since you said a couple months later the wrist bothered you again.
    Mother nature has some offending, to us, was of protecting herself.
  7. Thank goodness you don't find them in the Butterfly Conservator(ies)!
  8. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Funny you should mention that.
    The nearby zoo has a butterfly garden during the season and there are caterpillars in there. Lots of them.
    Not that i am into picking them up, but many kids are always in there.
    Wonder if they have taken that into concideration. You know how kids are.
    I should bring Harry's note about them.
  9. Gale, don't worry! Butterfly gardens usually have "butterflies" (swallowtails, etc.), not moths. Although there are moths which are pretty big (e.g. Atlas moth), the majority of them are quite small and inconspicuous, nothing to attract visitors. There are, of course, also poisonous butterfly larvae, but you would have to eat them to be poisoned :smile:

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