Unfortunate meeting with a saddleback caterpillar
Location: Central NJ
August 7, 2011 7:32 pm
I was weeding today and reached around a blue mist shrub and felt a sting in my forearm and found one of these saddlebacks. I only brushed it and the stinging lasted for a couple of hours. Went back to the plant and found 1 more.
Though we frequently get identification requests for Saddleback Caterpillars, it is not as frequent that we get a report that someone has been stung. Saddleback Caterpillars are not aggressive, and they do not actively seek out folks to sting, however, situations like yours are the most frequently reported stinging encounters. People will often accidentally brush against Saddleback Caterpillar or other stinging species with startlingly painful results. Other North American stinging caterpillar species include the Asp or Puss Caterpillar, the Monkey Slug, the Tussock Moth Caterpillar, the Buck Moth Caterpillar, and the Io Moth Caterpillar. You might also be interested in this University of Kentucky Entomology page on Stinging Caterpillars.