Early Instar Io Moth Caterpillars

Subject: do you know what type of caterpillar this is?
Location: central florida
August 4, 2014 9:52 am
Can you please identify this caterpillar for me? And let me know if it is poisenous?
Signature: Alysa Lenahan

Early Instar Io Moth Caterpillars
Early Instar Io Moth Caterpillars

Dear Alysa,
These are early instar Io Moth Caterpillars, which we identified on BugGuide.
  As they mature, the Io Moth Caterpillars turn bright green with white and red racing stripes on the sides, but they maintain their spines.  They are considered one of the stinging caterpillars, and contact with the spines can cause a local reaction, with irritation and a rash.  According to BugGuide:  “Caution, larva may “sting” if handled. The larger the caterpillar the more intense the stinging sensation caused by the urticating spines.”  The adult Io Moth is a gorgeous moth with startling eyespots on the lower wings that will scare a potential predator.

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