[LEPS-L:7955] "Asps" (the stinging caterpillar)...mystery solved

jandwdic at postoffice.swbell.net jandwdic at postoffice.swbell.net
Tue Nov 21 16:59:40 EST 2000

   Thanks to this newsgroup for all you help.
   Now I know what those little devils are called. And for the first
time in my life I know what the full grown moth looks like. I was very
familliar with them at the time, but had no idea that the moth and
caterpillar were related.

   For those of you who are interested in knowing about the little
monster we in Texas called asps, I have included these links. I hope
they work.

   I was not suprised to read that the Puss Moth caterpillar (Megalopyge
opercularis) was listed as our most dangerous stinging caterpillar.
Having been stung by one, I can testify to the agony they can inflict. A
wasp or bee sting is tame by comparison.
   Here are the links for those of you who are interested.

   The "Asp" or Megalopygidae opercularis (Puss Moth caterpillar, or
Southern Flannel Moth)

   (You will find it listed as the Puss Caterpillar (photo 7)

   If you decide to try to collect one of these little buggers, be very
careful. because if you find one, you may be standing right under a tree
where one is about to drop on you. That is how they sting you; by
accident due to their clumbsiness. Just looking at the pictures of the
moth and caterpillar makes chills go up and down my spine.

   Here is a link for the picture of the full grown moth. They are
harmless. I remember catching them in our windowsills, but I had no idea
they were related to the Asp. Now that I know; just looking at the moth
gives me chills. They have large black eyes and what looks like a fur
collar around their necks. I remember that they were so delicate that if
you caught one, the wings would just about fall apart.
   Here's a link for the full grown moth:

   It doesn't suprise me that they are natives of Central America. They
seem more like something one might find in a jungle where strange and
dangerous species are more common. But they were a common phenomenom in
the city neighborhoods where I grew up.


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