Monday, September 14, 2015

Reader Request: Hag Moth Caterpillar

This is a post about my mom's friend Laura's request to identify an unknown insect on a garbage can. I have identified it as a hag moth caterpillar, or "monkey slug". Its preferred host plants are roses, sassafras, alder, dogwoods, hickories, and spirea. It is fairly common in North Carolina, where the picture came from.

Photo credit- My mom's friend Laura's cousin

It has over one dozen fleshy, leg-like appendages that will regrow when they are lost and are not used for movement. It is densely covered in short brown hair. Some of these hairs are hollow and contain poison that causes bee-sting-like symptoms. If "stung", be sure to wash the affected area to remove any hairs or poison. An ice pack will help minimize your swelling.

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