Fire creatures Megalopyge lanata
Categories: AnimalsBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/fire-creatures-megalopyge-lanata.html
Butterfly caterpillars from the Megalopygidae family, common in North and South America, are quite cute creatures, but it is better to stay away from them. Under their silky "fur" hide short, pointed bristles, the cavity of which is filled with a toxic substance. The bristles easily pierce the skin, and the poison that enters the bloodstream causes a sharp pain comparable to the pain from a thermal burn, and characteristic bright red dots appear at the injection site. No wonder the locals call these caterpillars fire creatures!
(Total 8 photos)
1. To remove the thorns, use a patch or adhesive tape, sticking and tearing it off the skin several times. If this is not done, then further symptoms of poisoning depend on the dose of poison received and on the susceptibility of the victim to it. Most often, the case is limited to severe headache, nausea and vomiting, but in severe cases, swelling of the airways sometimes develops, which can lead to death. Caterpillars are most dangerous before pupation, when they reach 2.5 centimeters in length, but those that have just hatched from the egg also have poisonous hairs.
2. Caterpillar of the butterfly Megalopyge opercularis - is one of the most poisonous caterpillars in North America. The habitat of Megalopyge opercularis includes the territory of the southeastern and central parts of the United States, Mexico, and slightly affects the northern regions of Central America. It lives in mixed and broad-leaved forests, where it settles on leaves and tree trunks. It feeds on the leaves of elms, oaks, citrus trees and other garden plants such as wild rose and ivy.
3. The color of the "fur coat" of the caterpillar can vary from light gray to golden or even reddish brown. It grows up to 3 centimeters long and 1 wide. It has 7 pairs of prolegs. Adult butterflies are slightly larger than the caterpillar. Their body length is about 3.5 centimeters. The wings are short, rounded, and covered with long wavy hairs. The coloration is quite variegated: at the base of the wings are painted orange, which gradually, towards the ends of the wings, turns into cream. The body also has short venomous spines.
4. From a distance, the caterpillar of this butterfly can be mistaken for a harmless piece of fluff, which children and even adults can unknowingly pick up. One careless touch and severe pain pierces the place of touch. Immediately or a couple of minutes after this contact, intense, throbbing pain develops, which quickly reaches the lymph nodes in the armpit or inguinal region, and then to the chest.
5. Erythematous spots (bruising) may appear at the site of contact with the poisonous spike. Other symptoms may include headache, vomiting, nausea, numbness, and difficulty breathing.
6. The pain usually subsides within an hour, and the spots disappear the next day. However, if a large dose of poison has entered the bloodstream, then these symptoms can last up to 5 days.
As a first aid for such poisoning, it is necessary:
1) apply ice to the injection site,
2) take antihistamines (against allergies). This helps reduce itching and burning.
3) in case of severe itching or difficulty breathing, you should immediately consult a doctor.