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What is it? Wednesday

Puss Caterpillar

Puss caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis David Shadoan, ©2020

Puss caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis
David Shadoan, ©2020

Identification

Later instar caterpillars densely covered in yellowish, reddish, brown, or mouse gray setae (hairs). Middorsal crest has rusty to smoky setae. “Tail” setae extend well beyond the body.

Feeding Habits

Puss caterpillars skeletonize many species of deciduous trees such as oaks, elms, birch, cherry, hackberry, persimmon, poplar, sassafras, wax myrtle, and more.

Medical Significance

All larval instars, as well as exuviae (cast skins), have venomous spines that may produce a painful sting. Sensitive individuals who develop systemic symptoms are urged to seek immediate medical attention.

For more information, see HGIC 2482, Stinging Caterpillars.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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