Nature

Reminder: Don’t Touch These Furry Caterpillars, No Matter How Cute They Are

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Hairy caterpillars look harmless enough to reach out and pet, but kids should be taught (and adults should be reminded) to resist any urge to pet a fuzzy caterpillar. Touching an asp caterpillar results in a burning sensation, red spots at the site of the sting, throbbing pain, and even pain radiating to the armpit.

KSAT quotes San Antonio zoo education manager Laurie Brown as saying, “They have a specialized, hairy coat that can cause a burn to mammalian skin…The health concerns only present itself with people who are severely allergic to arthropod venom. These people should seek medical attention.” In other words, if you do end up touching an asp, the painful rash and burn should go away within a few hours or a day. But if it causes itching all over the body or difficulty breathing, one should visit the ER.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension website recommends that those who are stung use an ice pack and take an antihistamine. Also, if there are still spines present in the skin, use a piece of tape to pull the spines out.

If you’re still terribly curious about touching an asp, check out this Instagram video to satisfy your urge. Also pictured is the flannel moth, the asp’s final form.

#megalopygidae . . #aspcaterpillar #flannelmoth #entomology #lepidoptera

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