Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Subject:  Stinging caterpillar? It’s a beauty!
Geographic location of the bug:  San Antonio, Tx, 90 degree October day.
Date: 10/21/2017
Time: 02:10 AM EDT
Hello wonderful bugmen!
I found this beauty in my front yard, my kids and I enjoyed it without touching it. I try to teach appreciation without disturbing. Not sure of what exactly we were appreciating, though, but after searching through your fb feed thought maybe it shared some similarities to a stinging caterpillar? It was only maybe 1-1.5” long, small little thing, but gorgeous nonetheless. Thank you for all that you do! I love your site and appreciate your work!
How you want your letter signed:  Monica Barrientes

Stinging Slug Caterpillar: Euclea species

Dear Monica,
We love your philosophy of educating your children to appreciate the wonders of the natural world while exercising caution.  Many otherwise harmless creatures have developed defenses to protect themselves from predators and other threats, and they do not attach unnecessarily, but caution should be exercised when handling them, though one is often better not handling them.  You are correct that this is a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae.  Based on this BugGuide image, we are confident it is in the genus
Euclea, a group that includes the Spiny Oak Slug, but we cannot identify the species with certainty.  According to BugGuide:  “NOTE: BugGuide photos from the southeastern states previously identified as Spiny Oak-Slug Moth (Euclea delphinii) have been moved to the genus page because we have no information (as of December 2006) on how to distinguish adults or larvae of delphinii from the virtually identical Euclea nanina.”  Three members of the genus are found in Texas.  According to BugGuide:  “E. delphinii: southern Quebec and New Brunswick to Florida, west to Texas and Oklahoma, north to Minnesota.  E. incisa: Arizona east to central Texas.  E. nanina: South Carolina to Florida, west to Texas.”

Stinging Slug Caterpillar: Euclea species

4 thoughts on “Stinging Slug Caterpillar”

  1. Omigosh, I just saw one of these for the first time today (on my trash can) and took quite a few pictures of it. I came here to see if I could find it, and here it is, newly posted! I didn’t even have to look . . . how serendipitous. I didn’t touch it either, although I did slide a leaf under it to photograph it. I thought it looked a bit plantlike and really pretty. Thank you Monica (I’m in Austin) and Whatsthatbug!


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