The puss caterpillar aka southern flannel moth live in shades and shrubs. It is one of the most poisonous insects in the US with the poison hidden in it’s hollow spines. Puss caterpillars are very hairy and are found in southern parts of the US and from Texas to Maryland. Rarest of touches to your skin can cause extensive burns and rashes.
Asp, Italian asp, woolly slug, opossum bug, puss moth, tree asp, or asp caterpillar are amongst its many names. Puss caterpillars have a cat-like appearance. These insects are vegetarian so they won’t bite you as such but don’t think for a minute that they are not dangerous. Leaves from poplar and willow trees are their favourites. Their cocoons are known to be the hardest of the moth species. They have bright, white wings with black markings on them.
Pain from their bites usually drains away in about an hour but at times, the reaction can be more severe, causing swelling, nausea, and difficulty in breathing. Surprisingly, the moths are tiny and pretty much harmless as adults—they’re only venomous during adolescence.
- They are nocturnal in nature, like most other moths, they eat at night and rest during the day time.
- They are known to spray formic acid on their predators.
- Females are larger than males.
- Live on trees and shrubbery around homes and in parks.
- Their scientific name is the “Cerura vinula”.
- They have a soft furry texture.
- Their cocoons are waterproof and are strong.