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Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Puss Caterpillars (Family Megalopygidae)

Puss caterpillars are often vested in long, downy setae, and like their kin the slug caterpillars, they can inflict a painful sting. Most of the caterpillar stings in the South can be attributed to flannel moth caterpillars. Once in hand, they can be distinguished from all other Lepidoptera in having 6 pairs of midabdominal prolegs, although the first and last pairs, on the second and seventh segments, lack crochets. Of the 4 eastern species, 3 have a wispy tail of hairlike setae. Puss caterpillars are broadly polyphagous on shrubs and trees.

Caterpillar Thumbnail
Crinkled Flannel Moth

(Lagoa crispata)

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