Currently viewing the category: "Asps and Flannel Moth Caterpillars"
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Subject: strange catapillar
Location: outside Houston
November 19, 2016 12:36 pm
Attached are a couple pics of a catapillar that I have never seen before outside of Houston, TX. My wife has been bitten/stung by these twice in the last 2 weeks. They are very slow moving. It is a very painful bite/sting that lasts several days and leaves a good size welt. I have lived in this house for 15 years and never seen one. This fall alone I’ve seen about a dozen.
Signature: at your descretion

White Asp

White Asp

The Asp is the stinging caterpillar (which you already learned) of the Southern Flannel Moth or Puss Moth.  Asps come in a variety of colors, but white Asps do not seem as common as other colors like orange and brown.

White Asp

White Asp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cuckoo for caterpillars (Food Chain)
Location: Louisa Co., Virginia, USA
August 17, 2016 10:24 am
I have a 9-year-old honeylocust which this year has the most glorious infestation of some apparently delicious caterpillars. I am an avid birdwatcher and have contented myself with mostly listening for the shy, elusive cuckoos that appear in my yard every year. However, for the past week they have not been able to stay away from this tree and the buffet the caterpillars are providing – as many as 3 cuckoos hanging around gorging themselves just outside my door. I’m not concerned about the tree – just a bit of minor defoliation, and it’s late in the season – but I sure hope that whatever bug this is decides to come back from now on so I can get such fantastic views of yellow-billed cuckoos!
Signature: Winston B

White Flannel Moth Caterpillar

White Flannel Moth Caterpillar

Goodness, Gracious Winston,
This one proved to be a far greater challenge to us than we anticipated.  We recall having identified this distinctive caterpillar species in the past, and we were relatively certain it was a Flannel Moth Caterpillar, so we searched our own archive.  We looked at hundreds of old postings, beginning with Asps and Flannel Moth Caterpillars, but we could not locate it.  We eventually found it on Walter Reeves Venomous (Poisonous) Caterpillars site where it is identified as a White Flannel Moth Caterpillar.  We then returned to our own site, but the most recent posting we had of a White Flannel Moth Caterpillar,
Norape ovina, was 2007, and that predated our site overhaul and recategorization method.  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillar has stinging spines” but obviously, your Cuckoos are unaffected by the spines or venom.  BugGuide also notes:  “Species name ovina is Latin, meaning ‘of or like sheep'” and we suspect that might be a reference to their group grazing behavior.  We love your Food Chain images.

Cuckoo Eats White Flannel Moth Caterpillars

Cuckoo Eats White Flannel Moth Caterpillars

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Insect Case Identification
Location: Gulf Shores, Alabama
March 17, 2016 10:17 am
Attached is a picture of an insect case found on some small oak trees. We would like some identification of the insect that would deposit such a case.
Signature: Gulf State Park Nature Center

Cocoons

Cocoons

We have to call these Cocoons because they look like larvae made them before pupating and eventually emerging.  We will research in the morning.

I have been searching too.  Could it be a Megalopyge opercularis (southern flannel moth cocoon)?
Thanks,
Kelly Reetz
Naturalist – Gulf State Park

Hi Kelly,
We received a comment indicating the cocoons belong to the Southern Flannel Moth.  This BugGuide image supports that ID.  They appear to be empty, indicating the adult Southern Flannel Moths have already emerged.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cool bug
Location: Sedona Az
October 6, 2015 1:26 pm
Very cool hairy bug. What is it?
Signature: Craig

Asp

Asp

Dear Craig,
At first we thought this was an Asp, the stinging caterpillar of a Southern Flannel Moth,
Megalopyge opercularis, however that species is found in the south from Texas eastward, according to BugGuide.  We also learned on BugGuide that there are two related and similar looking species found in Arizona, and we are confident your caterpillar belongs to either Megalopyge bissesa or Megalopyge lapena, and though neither has a common name, and since we suspect that their respective caterpillars are also capable of stinging, we believe Asp is also an appropriate common name for their caterpillars.  Of Megalopyge bissesa, BugGuide notes:  “The known larval hosts include Quercus oblongifolia (Mexican blue oak) and Arctostaphylos sp. (manzanita).” 

Asp

Asp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpiller with a nasty sting
Location: Mindo Ecuador
April 3, 2015 5:09 pm
Bugman, check out this beauty found while cutting some brush in Mindo, Ecuador. It left some of its fine hairs behind on the branch it was knocked off of. The local guy I hired to help me told me to watch out for these falling on your head when battling the thicket: a sting from this will put you in the house all day with a fever and intense pain. I didn’t test his claim for myself but I did manage to get these pictures.
Signature: PDB

Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Puss Moth Caterpillar

Dear PDB,
This really is a beautiful caterpillar, and it is a wonderful choice to celebrate the 20,000th posting on our site, quite a milestone that fills our tiny staff with immense pride.  At first we thought this must be a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae because of its resemblance to a Monkey Slug from North America, but our search eventually brought up an image of a Puss Moth Caterpillar
(Oruga de Polilla Gato) in the family Megalopyge on FlickR where it states:  “The’hairs’ are very urticant and touching them produces strong reactions that may include hospitalization”.  Puss Moth Caterpillars from North America are also stinging caterpillars that are commonly called Flannel Moth Caterpillars or Asps.  We then tried searching the Monkey Slug genus Phobetron and found an individual from Suriname posted on Flickr, and after careful consideration, we cannot say for certain in which family your caterpillar should be classified, but we are leaning towards the family Megalopyge.  We then found an excellent image by Andreas Kay matching your caterpillar on FlickR, but alas, it is only identified as a Stinging Flannel Moth Caterpillar in the family Megalopygidae.  The best visual match we located was taken by Shirley Sekarajasingham and posted to FlickR, but again, it is only identified to the family level.  Perhaps one of our readers would like to continue searching for a genus or species match for our 20,000th posting.

Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Oruga de Polilla Gato

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Houston tx
November 21, 2014 11:19 pm
We found on patio and would like to know what it is. Is it dangerous,poisonous, etc.
Signature: Cc

Asp

Asp

Dear Cc,
Your image is quite blurry, but this appears to be an Asp, the stinging caterpillar of a Southern Flannel Moth.  The Asp is notorious in the south where its sting is reported to be quite painful.
  Additional information on the Asp is available on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination