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Venomous Species and Venoms

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biology
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  1. Introduction
  2. Venoms in Lepidoptera
  3. The most important venomous caterpillar in the US
  4. Stinging patterns
  5. Clinical aspects
  6. Treatment and prevention
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

Insects of the order Lepidoptera typically cause human envenomation, but effects generally are less serious than with hymenopterans. Injury usually follows contact with caterpillars, occurring less frequently with the cocoon or adult stage. The larval lepidopteran (caterpillar) is usually free living, is moderately active, and feeds on plants, although a few are parasites of insect nests or eat food of animal origin. The pupal stage may be free or encased in a silk cocoon. Wintering over in cold climates is usually in the pupal stage. Adults (butterflies and moths) have wings with microscopic chitinous scales. They primarily feed on nectar and other plant juices, but some eat semiliquid mammalian feces and urine. The adult provides no care or protection of immature stages. No social organization exists, although larvae and adults of some species assemble in large aggregations.

[...] Probably the most important venomous caterpillar in the United States is the puss caterpillar or woolly slug (Megalopyge opercularis), which occurs in the southern states west through most of Texas and north to Maryland and Missouri. This hairy, flat, and ovoid caterpillar reaches a length of 30 to 35 mm and feeds on shade trees, including elm, oak, and sycamore. Some years it may be plentiful enough to be a nuisance. In southeast Texas in persons were treated for stings, with eight hospitalized. [...]


[...] Venomous Species and Venoms Insects of the order Lepidoptera typically cause human envenomation, but effects generally are less serious than with hymenopterans. Injury usually follows contact with caterpillars, occurring less frequently with the cocoon or adult stage. The larval lepidopteran (caterpillar) is usually free living, is moderately active, and feeds on plants, although a few are parasites of insect nests or eat food of animal origin. The pupal stage may be free or encased in a silk cocoon. Wintering over in cold climates is usually in the pupal stage. [...]

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