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an ambulant toupee?

 No, it's a megalopygid moth caterpillar (via Science Alert on Facebook). 

Image: Rainforest Expeditions (on Facebook)

Megalopygids are also called 'flannel moths' (you can see images of both adults and larvae here - the larvae are quite diverse in appearance). I do wonder, after looking at this adult, if they aren't related to the poodle moth I shared with you a few posts ago.

Apparently the larvae, which are 2-3cm long, are called 'puss caterpillars', presumably because the long hairs that cover their bodies make them look vaguely (very vaguely!) cat-like**. But you wouldn't want to stroke them. Hidden in all that seemingly soft fluffiness are spines tipped with venom that causes a burning pain, & inflammation that can last for several days - with the nastiest species, in a worst-case scenario the victim may go into shock. So you'd want to restrain the urge to touch, if you came across one (in the southern US, Mexico, or Central America).

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** I'm afraid I don't think 'cat' when I see that image; it reminds me more of a certain millionaire's hairpiece...

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3 Comments

spines tipped with venom that causes a burning pain definitely a certain millionaire's hairpiece.

This image is from Rainforest Expeditions on Facebook, ScienceAlert reposted from us.

http://www.facebook.com/Rainforest.Expeditions

Please cite us appropriately, glad you enjoy the image.

Phil Torres

Hi Phil - very happy to cite you :-) It's a wonderful image!

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Recent Comments

  • Alison Campbell: Hi Phil - very happy to cite you :-) It's read more
  • Phil Torres: This image is from Rainforest Expeditions on Facebook, ScienceAlert reposted read more
  • Trevor: spines tipped with venom that causes a burning pain definitely read more