Subject: What kind of bug is this?
Location: Alabama
September 30, 2015 2:07 pm
Please tell me what kind of bug this is.
Signature: Thank you. Tammy p

Southern Flannel Moth

Southern Flannel Moth

Dear Tammy p,
This is a Southern Flannel Moth,
Megalopyge opercularis, and your individual is a male as evidenced by the feathery antennae and pronounced markings.  Though you might not be familiar with the adult moth, many folks in the South are quite familiar with its larval form, commonly called a Puss Caterpillar or Asp.  According to BugGuide:  “Caution, caterpillars have painful sting.  Occasionally, in outbreak years, puss caterpillars are sufficiently numerous to defoliate some trees (Bishopp 1923). However, their main importance is medical. In Texas, they have been so numerous in some years that schools in San Antonio in 1923 and Galveston in 1951 were closed temporarily because of stings to children (Diaz 2005).”  Images of the Asp are much more common on our site that those of the adult Southern Flannel Moth.  Since it is the first of October, we have selected your submission to be our featured Bug of the Month for October 2015.

Asps from our archive

Asps (image from our archive)

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Location: Alabama

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