Unlike most other moth larvae, megalopygid larvae have seven pairs of prolegs. Individuals of the fall generation overwinter as larvae prepupae and pupate in late spring of the next year. Unlike pupae of most moth families, abdominal segments four to six of the pupae are movable in the Megalopygidae and their close relatives including the Limacodidae. Anterior bands of spines are present on the dorsal aspect of the pupal abdominal segments. The pupal exuviae is held by tension from the operculum and remains on the cocoon until it is beaten away by weathering. Eagleman presented epidemiological evidence for two major broods by plotting the chronological distribution of puss caterpillar envenomations for a three year period. Some persist long enough to become covered with lichens. Puss caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis last instar, dorsal view.
Larvae pictured here were reared in an un-air-conditioned garage during the heat of the summer and were fed foliage of winged elm Ulmus alata Michaux. In addition to the characteristic localized symptoms, more general systemic manifestations may also occur including headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, low blood pressure, seizures and more rarely, abdominal pain, muscle spasms and convulsions Diaz , Eagleman , El-Mallakh et al. Southern flannel moth pupal exuviae, Megalopyge opercularis. The rami of the antennae of females are so short that the antennae appear almost thread-like. All larval instars, as well as exuviae, may sting but the toxicity of the stings increases with increasing size of the larvae Davidson Chrysopidae feeding on eggs and early instars. Unlike pupae of most moth families, abdominal segments four to six of the pupae are movable in the Megalopygidae and their close relatives including the Limacodidae. The only apparent function of this ephemeral front part is to maintain structural integrity of the cocoon until the operculum is finished. At least four species of tachinid flies Diptera: Description Back to Top Adults: Southern flannel moth cocoon hair pocket, Megalopyge opercularis. The other larvae are in increasing order of maturity, but their exact instar in not known. Eggs are laid in single or double curved rows occasionally in patches on foliage or small twigs and are covered with hair from the under side of abdomen of the female. Antennae are bipectinate comb-like with rami teeth on two sides. Southern flannel moth pupa, Megalopyge opercularis, male, lateral view showing abdominal post-spiracular appendages. Puss caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis early instar showing venomous spines. Remedies that may be helpful in some cases include removing broken spine tips from the skin with tape, applying ice packs, use of oral antihistamine, application of hydrocortisone cream to the site of the sting, systemic corticosteroids, and intravenous calcium gluconate. Puss caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis next to last instar. Older instars are likely well-defended from vertebrate predators by their venomous spines. Late instars have a hairy tail. His data showed two distinct peaks - one developing in early summer and the second in the fall. Bishop stated that there are probably five or six instars. Although they are not glued to the body, the legs remain folded and do not appear to assist in emergence from the cocoon. Puss caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis anterior view showing head, prothorax, prothoracic spiracle and pre-spiracular appendage. Eggs of the southern flannel moth, Megalopyge opercularis.
Video about mature puss:
puss finger lips
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