[LEPS-L:7958] I found one more link

jandwdic at postoffice.swbell.net jandwdic at postoffice.swbell.net
Tue Nov 21 21:20:29 EST 2000

   I can't believe all of the information I am finding about this creature
that has become virtually extinct in Dallas since about 30 years ago, or
more. I have never known anyone who knew any more about them other than the
fact that they can sting the heck out of you.

   Here is one more link for those of you who are interested. I liked it
because it refered to Texas and affirmed the Texas name for the critter (the
   The only thing that I haven't read yet, in these links, and the one thing
I know (that none of these experts seem to know) is that some of the
caterpillars are white. The one that stung me was as white and furry as a
polar bear. It was as big as the biggest asp I had ever seen at that time;
just a little under 2 inches. I have noticed quite a difference in the
caterpillars in some of these pictures regarding the same species. But the
link I listed in a previous header (photo 7) looks exactly like the variety
of caterpillar we had in Dallas Texas, except for the fact that we sometimes
saw white ones as well.
   There must be a little variation in the species, because one of the asps
I saw in a picture on another link (which was described as an orange tree
pest from south Texas) was slightly different. It's fur was longer and had
the appearance of a spiral; like a rope. But the link I provide (photo 7) is
exactly right, excepting the fact that it doesn't show the white variety.
   The moth photo link that I provided is almost exactly the moth that I
remember from those times. The only difference is that they were a little
less yellowish. The moth I remember was basically dirty white with bits of
grey. But it looked virtually the same as the picture in the link I

   Thanks again for all your help. I know the Southern Flannell Moth is not
pretty, but it is damn sure interesting, because it is the most dangerous
stinging caterpillar in North America ( maybe South America too). Which
would make it the most dangerous stinging caterpillar in this hemisphere,
since it is also found in South America.
   It is the olympian in it's class. Unfortunately it's class is the class
of misery and agony. I can't help but have a little respect for it since it
is such a formidable adversary.
   It deserves a place in the Bug "Rogues Gallery", and as such is one of
those critters we love to hate.

jandwdic at postoffice.swbell.net wrote:

>    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)
> http://www.ag.auburn.edu/dept/ent/bulletins/caterpillar/caterpillar.htm
>    (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:
>    http://members.fortunecity.com/belizemoths/images2/megope.htm
>    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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