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Megalopyge lanata - Puss Caterpillar (Stoll, 1780) Lepidoptera: Apoditrysia: Zygaenoidea: Megalopygidae: Megalopyginae<br />
<br />
Larval length: up to 55mm.<br />
<br />
Wingspan: ♀ ~70 - 85mm / ♂ ~50mm.<br />
<br />
Date: 4th of July, 2017 at 11:21:18am.<br />
Location: Brazil, Santa Catarina, Benedito Novo (Lat: -26.83, Long: -49.27999999999997, Accuracy in meters: 80.99765660274748)<br />
<br />
This is a caterpillar belonging to the order Lepidoptera, subdivision Apoditrysia, superfamily Zygaenoidea, family Megalopygidae and subfamily Megalopyginae.<br />
<br />
Offsprings stay close to each other until they reach the next developmental stage. Their bristled hairs emit toxins upon pressure and will cause damage to the skin, including but not limited to purulent bubbles. Treatment is made with - among other methods - ice packs and antihistamines. Nevertheless, accidents with this species very rarely (or never) end in death and the symptoms can be remedied with ease unless the subject affected is allergic, a situation that can occur with pretty much any toxin, even a bee sting, and even then these situations are not always fatal. I purposedly burned myself with the toxin and suffered an intense allergic reaction but never went to the hospital and am alive. The caterpillars are not aggressive and will NEVER attack anyone; the toxin is a defensive and passive mechanism - Just respect and all is fine.<br />
<br />
The larva feeds on Persea americana, Coffea arabica, Psidium guajava, Mangifera indica, Prunus persica, Pyrus communis, Rosa sp., Citrus sp. and Hura crepitans, with the possibility of more hosts existing given their polyphytophagou nature. The hairs are brownish and the body has an overall dorsal whitish coloring and red bumps on the laterals of each segment. The ventral surface is reddish-brown with reddish bumps. Each segment is separated by a black part. Head retractable. Right above and below each stigma there are hairs which are inserted above the spiracles are planted on protuberances, possessing less saturarion than the others.<br />
<br />
They undergo around 7 molts and measure from 50 to 55mm in length, but this information is controversial. Larval phase is relatively extended with a stage consisting of a period of free life and a stage of sheltering which is considered a pre-nymphal stage. Nymphal stage is short and the adult phase reduced. Egg incubation time unknown to me, but registered at around 15 days. On the host plant the caterpillar searches for a suitable place to make the cocoon, consisting of a large chunk of their life. The cocoon is made of protective, strong structures. The structure is silvery. Over this primary surface the caterpillar builds a secondary structure with brownish, globular, relatively thick strings. The cocoon is finally attached to a surface (like trunks) and is very hard to remove without the aid of a cutting object which will probably damage it. After the fourth day the tissue adherence inside the cocoon makes for impossible or semi-impossible sight of the insides. The cocoon is able to protect the individual with efficiency.<br />
<br />
According to a study sourced below, adult males always eclosed in less numbers from the groups randomly collected with an approximate relation of 1 : 2. Males differ considerably from females; antennae are strongly bipectinate and featherish on males, while the antennae of females are ciliated. The antennae of females are more delicate. Females of M. lanata can have a wingspan between 70 and 85mm and are always more robust than males, which have a wingspan of approximately 50mm. Females have more hairs than males. The forewings of the females are entirely covered by an abundant black pubescence. Sexual dichromism present; males exhibit more abundant pinkish shades than females, which colors are predominantly dark except for the wings. The wings of both males and females are more or less similarly colored. The female&#039;s superior part of the thorax and abdomen is blackish, while males exhibit abundantly ornamented pinkish colors in those areas. Female&#039;s abdominal extremity is covered in cream-colored hairs. Males&#039;s abdominal extremity also have cream-colored hairs but the area in which those occur is significantly smaller. The superior part of the abdomen of adults of M. lanata is ornamented by alternating black and pink bands until the meeting point of the terminal cream-colored zone. Males possess large pink bands, larger than the black bands.<br />
<br />
Females seem to be more calm than males after ecloding; probably relationed with the conservational instinct of the species.<br />
<br />
Phorocera platensis and Zygozenilla sp. (possibly and ex-genus? Requires confirmation) seem to parasitize M. lanata.<br />
<br />
As a protective measure against attacks and environmental threats, the eggs are laid on a wall or trunk in short rows and covered in cream-colored setae from the apex of the female abdomen; stray black hair might also be present from other parts of the female&#039;s body. This helps the species develop.<br />
<br />
Ovipositioning can last several days and 290+ eggs can be laid. The eggs are full of vitelus.<br />
<br />
SOURCES:<br />
<br />
<a href="http://www.scielo.br/pdf/aesalq/v8/13.pdf" rel="nofollow">http://www.scielo.br/pdf/aesalq/v8/13.pdf</a><br />
<br />
<a href="https://revistas.ufg.br/iptsp/article/viewFile/16752/10197" rel="nofollow">https://revistas.ufg.br/iptsp/article/viewFile/16752/10197</a><br />
<br />
<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279466023_ACIDENTE_HUMANO_POR_Megalopyge_lanata_LEPIDOPTERA_MEGALOPYGIDAE_EM_AREA_URBANA_DO_MUNICIPIO_DE_UBERLANDIA_MG_BRASIL" rel="nofollow">https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279466023_ACIDENTE_HUMANO_POR_Megalopyge_lanata_LEPIDOPTERA_MEGALOPYGIDAE_EM_AREA_URBANA_DO_MUNICIPIO_DE_UBERLANDIA_MG_BRASIL</a><br />
<br />
<a href="http://www.agrolink.com.br/problemas/lagarta-de-fogo_486.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.agrolink.com.br/problemas/lagarta-de-fogo_486.html</a> - only filter good things in these websites, as I&#039;ve never seen one that provides beneficial informations to nature.<br />
<br />
<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalopyge_lanata" rel="nofollow">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalopyge_lanata</a><br />
<br />
<a href="http://www.defesavegetal.net/megala" rel="nofollow">http://www.defesavegetal.net/megala</a> - only filter good things in these websites, as I&#039;ve never seen one that provides beneficial informations to nature.<br />
<br />
<a href="http://www.infobibos.com/artigos/2008_3/taturanas/index.htm" rel="nofollow">http://www.infobibos.com/artigos/2008_3/taturanas/index.htm</a> - Read the end as well by translation.<br />
<br />
<a href="http://eol.org/pages/386495/overview" rel="nofollow">http://eol.org/pages/386495/overview</a> Animalia,Apoditrysia,Arthropoda,Arthropods,Brazil,Caterpillar,Geotagged,Insecta,Insects,Lepidoptera,Megalopyge,Megalopyge lanata,Megalopygidae,Megalopyginae,South America,Zygaenoidea,animal,animals,arthropod,insect Click/tap to enlarge PromotedSpecies introCountry intro

Megalopyge lanata - Puss Caterpillar (Stoll, 1780)

Lepidoptera: Apoditrysia: Zygaenoidea: Megalopygidae: Megalopyginae

Larval length: up to 55mm.

Wingspan: ♀ ~70 - 85mm / ♂ ~50mm.

Date: 4th of July, 2017 at 11:21:18am.
Location: Brazil, Santa Catarina, Benedito Novo (Lat: -26.83, Long: -49.27999999999997, Accuracy in meters: 80.99765660274748)

This is a caterpillar belonging to the order Lepidoptera, subdivision Apoditrysia, superfamily Zygaenoidea, family Megalopygidae and subfamily Megalopyginae.

Offsprings stay close to each other until they reach the next developmental stage. Their bristled hairs emit toxins upon pressure and will cause damage to the skin, including but not limited to purulent bubbles. Treatment is made with - among other methods - ice packs and antihistamines. Nevertheless, accidents with this species very rarely (or never) end in death and the symptoms can be remedied with ease unless the subject affected is allergic, a situation that can occur with pretty much any toxin, even a bee sting, and even then these situations are not always fatal. I purposedly burned myself with the toxin and suffered an intense allergic reaction but never went to the hospital and am alive. The caterpillars are not aggressive and will NEVER attack anyone; the toxin is a defensive and passive mechanism - Just respect and all is fine.

The larva feeds on Persea americana, Coffea arabica, Psidium guajava, Mangifera indica, Prunus persica, Pyrus communis, Rosa sp., Citrus sp. and Hura crepitans, with the possibility of more hosts existing given their polyphytophagou nature. The hairs are brownish and the body has an overall dorsal whitish coloring and red bumps on the laterals of each segment. The ventral surface is reddish-brown with reddish bumps. Each segment is separated by a black part. Head retractable. Right above and below each stigma there are hairs which are inserted above the spiracles are planted on protuberances, possessing less saturarion than the others.

They undergo around 7 molts and measure from 50 to 55mm in length, but this information is controversial. Larval phase is relatively extended with a stage consisting of a period of free life and a stage of sheltering which is considered a pre-nymphal stage. Nymphal stage is short and the adult phase reduced. Egg incubation time unknown to me, but registered at around 15 days. On the host plant the caterpillar searches for a suitable place to make the cocoon, consisting of a large chunk of their life. The cocoon is made of protective, strong structures. The structure is silvery. Over this primary surface the caterpillar builds a secondary structure with brownish, globular, relatively thick strings. The cocoon is finally attached to a surface (like trunks) and is very hard to remove without the aid of a cutting object which will probably damage it. After the fourth day the tissue adherence inside the cocoon makes for impossible or semi-impossible sight of the insides. The cocoon is able to protect the individual with efficiency.

According to a study sourced below, adult males always eclosed in less numbers from the groups randomly collected with an approximate relation of 1 : 2. Males differ considerably from females; antennae are strongly bipectinate and featherish on males, while the antennae of females are ciliated. The antennae of females are more delicate. Females of M. lanata can have a wingspan between 70 and 85mm and are always more robust than males, which have a wingspan of approximately 50mm. Females have more hairs than males. The forewings of the females are entirely covered by an abundant black pubescence. Sexual dichromism present; males exhibit more abundant pinkish shades than females, which colors are predominantly dark except for the wings. The wings of both males and females are more or less similarly colored. The female's superior part of the thorax and abdomen is blackish, while males exhibit abundantly ornamented pinkish colors in those areas. Female's abdominal extremity is covered in cream-colored hairs. Males's abdominal extremity also have cream-colored hairs but the area in which those occur is significantly smaller. The superior part of the abdomen of adults of M. lanata is ornamented by alternating black and pink bands until the meeting point of the terminal cream-colored zone. Males possess large pink bands, larger than the black bands.

Females seem to be more calm than males after ecloding; probably relationed with the conservational instinct of the species.

Phorocera platensis and Zygozenilla sp. (possibly and ex-genus? Requires confirmation) seem to parasitize M. lanata.

As a protective measure against attacks and environmental threats, the eggs are laid on a wall or trunk in short rows and covered in cream-colored setae from the apex of the female abdomen; stray black hair might also be present from other parts of the female's body. This helps the species develop.

Ovipositioning can last several days and 290+ eggs can be laid. The eggs are full of vitelus.

SOURCES:

http://www.scielo.br/pdf/aesalq/v8/13.pdf

https://revistas.ufg.br/iptsp/article/viewFile/16752/10197

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279466023_ACIDENTE_HUMANO_POR_Megalopyge_lanata_LEPIDOPTERA_MEGALOPYGIDAE_EM_AREA_URBANA_DO_MUNICIPIO_DE_UBERLANDIA_MG_BRASIL

http://www.agrolink.com.br/problemas/lagarta-de-fogo_486.html - only filter good things in these websites, as I've never seen one that provides beneficial informations to nature.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalopyge_lanata

http://www.defesavegetal.net/megala - only filter good things in these websites, as I've never seen one that provides beneficial informations to nature.

http://www.infobibos.com/artigos/2008_3/taturanas/index.htm - Read the end as well by translation.

http://eol.org/pages/386495/overview

    comments (3)

  1. Oscar, you are very brave! Posted 11 months ago
    1. I did the same thing with many other caterpillars of "medical importance". The Podalia orsilocha's toxin is abundantly demonized and I injected myself with approximately 10 seconds of contact with the caterpillar to prove my point. The toxin caused slight local pain and fever later in the day. The toxin of each caterpillar, and each creature, reacts differently for each person. I suffered a massive allergic reaction to Megalopyge lanata's toxin, but never applied any anti-histamine or ice pack, nor went to the hospital, to prove my point that even allergic reactions not always end in death and are manageable. It was risky and no one should do that, the point of the experiment was to raise awareness; respect and don't touch instead of killing. It's simple. In case of accidental touching, pay attention to the symptoms and go to the hospital if they get harsh. Today a woman died from a simple ant sting (ants can also have a sting, they are Hymenopterans)! She suffered an intense allergic reaction and died. Anything can cause this, even a medical drug. I can see many people killing ants out of fear. We're still trailing the same old road and will keep repeating the same egocentric mistakes again. My job is to change this. PETA Asia contacted me a month ago to join them. I will do so and will raise awareness not only about mammals, birds, reptiles, etc, but also Arthropods in general. There is no more time to waste and group work with people like you and the owner of this site as well as the owner of many other environmental-friendly websites and environmental-friendly people are crucial for global change. The planet has not reached a terminal state yet. At the end of times, what matters is everything and not I. Posted 11 months ago, modified 11 months ago
      1. I love how much you truly care about nature, Oscar. The world needs more people like you - except I would recommend that they not play with poisonous creatures... Posted 11 months ago

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''Megalopyge lanata'' is a moth of the family Megalopygidae. It was described by Caspar Stoll in 1780.

Similar species: Moths And Butterflies
Species identified by Oscar Neto
View Oscar Neto's profile

By Oscar Neto

All rights reserved
Uploaded Oct 24, 2018. Captured in Av. Getúlio Vargas, 5 - Centro, Timbó - SC, 89120-000, Brazil.