Tussock Moth Caterpillar from Peru

Subject: Moth caterpillar from Peru
Location: Lima, Perú
February 3, 2014 11:50 pm
I found this brown-gray colored caterpillar in my house the other day, and I decided to take some pictures of it because it looked pretty cool. I was almost sure that this was a moth caterpillar (and I’m terribly scared of moths) and I am pretty interested in finding out what specie it is (and how will it look like when it comes back to haunt me)! It is mid-summer here in Lima, Peru and it is the first time I run into this kind of caterpillar.
Signature: Rodrigo Alcorta

Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear Rodrigo,
This appears to be a Tussock Moth Caterpillar in the subfamily Lymantriinae.  In our opinion, your fear of moths has no basis in actuality.  Moths do not bite, nor do they sting.  Caterpillars on the other hand often have defense mechanisms, and many possess utricating hairs or stinging spines.  Tussock Moth Caterpillars sometimes have utricating hairs that will cause skin irritation if they are carelessly handled.

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