Stinging South American caterpillars

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Stinging South American Flannel moth caterpillars
Thought to be Stinging Mexican Flannel Moth caterpillar sighted in Guyana, South America – photo Andrea Stephenson

This fascinating caterpillar sighting was made in Guyana, South America.

Andrea Stephenson recorded as many as twenty caterpillars known locally as Hairy Worms feeding on her juniper tree.

These 2.5 inch long, distinctively marked caterpillars appeared harmless enough but the locals warned her not to touch.

Whilst doing more research Andrea found reference to a Maria Merian botanical print from the 1700s featuring a similar caterpillar named ‘Stinging Caterpillar and Fruiting Guava’

Other images appearing to be the same species and also recorded from Guyana also refer to them as Mexican Stinging Flannel Moth caterpillars, possibly the species Megalopyge lantana.

One of the few Flannel moth species of the same Megalopygidae family found in North America is the stinging Puss Moth caterpillar,  often referred to as the Asp.

The Asp and other stinging caterpillars of North America can be seen in the caterpillar gallery

Thanks to Andrea for her sighting. Others from around the world will continue to be featured in sightings, galleries and species pages.