Currently viewing the category: "Stinging Slug Caterpillars"

I have never seen this before
Location:  Dixon Missouri, USA
August 14, 2010 5:05 pm
this insect stung my son when he swept it off his arm after trying to shake it off and it sticking to him. its very small about the size of a pea. at the biggest.

Nason's Slug

Hi Tim,
This is one of the Stinging Slug Caterpillars in the family Limacodidae.  We quickly identified it as Nason’s Slug,
Natada nasoni, by searching BugGuide.

what’s this “bug” or instar stage?
February 20, 2010
Came across this centimetre long insect in mid-autumn along a dirt road beside a forested area. It really stood out for such a small creature.
Forks of the Credit River, ON, Canada

Crowned Slug Caterpillar

Hi Bonnie,
This is a Crowned Slug Caterpillar, Isa textula.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are often found on oak, but also eat leaves of many other trees including cherry, maple, basswood, elm and beech.
”  This caterpillar should be handled with care as it is capable of stinging.

Caterpiller identify?
February 16, 2010
The photo attached was taken February 16th 2010, in Frankston (A suburb of Melbourne, Australia). Caterpillar was feeding on a Eucalypt flowering gum tree. When disturbed the spins quickly appeared and left a stinging sensation on the skin. Can you please identify it?
Rowan Bravington
Melbourne, Australia

Chinese Junk Caterpillar

Hi Rowan,
Your caterpillar goes by the colorful name Chinese Junk Caterpillar because, according the the Brisbane Insect website: “of their shape and their way of moving like ship at sea.
”  The Chinese Junk Caterpillar, or Mottled Cup Moth, Doratifera vulnerans, is in the family Limacodidae.  The Brisbane Insect website has nice images of various instars as well as the cocoon, which looks like an empty cup once the adult moth has emerged.  The caterpillar is capable of stinging if carelessly handled, and apparently the spines are retractable.  Your image shows the spines extended in the defensive position.  This species was included in the 1913 edition of Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary under the definition for the word “sting” with this entry:  “Sting moth (Zo[“o]l.), an Australian moth (Doratifera vulnerans) whose larva is armed, at each end of the body, with four tubercles bearing powerful stinging organs.”  The sting is reported to be quite painful, similar to nettles and leaving a rash.  The caterpillar is also pictured on the Botanic Gardens Trust website.  In North America, members of the family Limacodidae are known as Slug Moths or Slug Caterpillars, and many of them also possess stinging spines. We next searched the Australian Limacodidae page from an excellent Lepidoptera of Australia website which states:  In Australia, they are also called ‘Spitfires’, ‘Battleships’ or ‘Warships’. This is because many species of the Caterpillars carry pockets of stinging spines, which are everted when the animal is disturbed, and sting anyone accidentally brushing against a tree leaf on which it is sitting. Their shape has also given them the common name ‘Chinese Junks’. The Caterpillars are inclined to sit by day happily exposed on the leaves of their foodplant, as they have a bright warning pattern or coloration. Their shape, coloration and perhaps their slow progression has led to another of their common names: ‘Bondi Trams’.”

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your reply and information.
Much appreciated.

Stinging Slug Caterpillar from Bako
February 5, 2010
Hi Bugman, I saw this gorgeous critter on my trip to Bako National Park. Ploughed the net and some blog labelled it as Euclea delphinii. But when i did a google image search on it the actual spp looks pretty diff. what’s this???
Sarawak, Malaysia

Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Hi Peiya,
The problem with blogs, including our own, is that there is much misinformation.  We agree that this is a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae, and we can tell you with certainty that you are correct that it is not the North American species Euclea delphinii.  It is also appears to be different from the Malaysian Parasa lepida or Blue Striped Nettle Grub we posted several months back.  This may take additional research.

unknown caterpillar
December 2, 2009
we saw this creature on the doorframe of our house in central maine during the late summer. it was about 3/4-1″ long. it had disappeared not long after we took the picture.
thanks, gina
central maine

Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar

Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar

Hi gina,
This is a Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar, Euclea delphinii.  It has venomous spines and it can deliver a painful sting.

thank you so much!!!
it’s so funny that nobody we know here in maine has ever seen such a thing!
i really appreciate your help.
happy holidays

What on earth is this?
September 28, 2009
While moving, my friends found this on a cardboard box that had been sitting, undisturbed in a storage room for over a year. It reacted only slightly to being touched, but when a lighter was held a few inches away from, the pustule looking things started to swell and it lifted up a few of its legs (arms?). They’ve left it alone since, except for calling me to take some pictures. In a 24 hour period it’s moved about 4 inches across the top of the box, though rarely moves at all when we’ve been looking at it. We live in southcentral Oklahoma, and the weather has been very hot for months, so the closed off storage room it was in, was very warm, and moderately humid.
curious okie
south central Oklahoma

Monkey Slug

Monkey Slug

Dear curious okie,
This is a Monkey Slug, the caterpillar of the Hag Moth, Phobetron pithecium.  It is one of the Stinging Slug Caterpillars in the family Limacodidae, and it should be handled with caution.