Caterpillar from French Guiana
Good morning,
I am curious about the possible ID of this beautiful hair-piece. It was photographed in French Guiana in the 1980s. Sorry, the scan of the slide is less than perfect.
Christian Feuillet

Hi Christian,
Sadly, despite Maria Sybilla Merian’s groundbreaking work on caterpillar metamorphosis of Amazon Lepidoptera at the end of the 16th Century, much of the insect life in the rain forest remains unknown, little studied, and assuredly never seen by non-natives. We believe this is some species of Flannel Moth Caterpillar in the family Megalopygidae. Flannel Moth Caterpillars, known as Puss Moths or Asps in parts of the southern USA, have stinging hairs that discharge venom. The sting of a Puss Moth caterpillar is considered by the Ohio State University FactSheet website on Stinging Caterpillars to be: “the most severe of all the stinging caterpillars.”

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