Bright Red Crab-like Bug
Mon, Jan 19, 2009 at 2:21 PM
My brother found this on a house plant. He lives in Brazil. Have any idea what this is and if it’s poisonous?
Clayton Robinson
Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Unknown Slug Caterpillar

Slug Caterpillar

Hi Clayton,
While we cannot tell you the species, we suspect this is a Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae. Your specimen closely resembles the Monkey Slug or Hag Moth Caterpillar which can be viewed on BugGuide. Slug Caterpillars have stinging spines and the sting can be quite painful and stays irritated for several days.

Update:
Daniel:
I think this slug caterpillar may have been posted before (Brazilian Monkey Slug Caterpillar – December 18th, 2007). In a follow-up note, the poster (Luiz) commented that the local name was “Lagarta-Aranha” which translated roughly to “Spider Caterpillar”. That name seems to be applied to a variety of Limacodidae caterpillars in Brazil, but most commonly to Phobetron hipparchia, an extremely variable species that ranges widely throughout the tropical Americas. That’s the same genus as the North American Monkey Slug Caterpillar (P. pithecium)and they do look very similar. Regards.
Karl

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