For Science Sunday on Google+, I bring you the flannel moth, photographed by Jeff Cremer and biologist Phil Torres in the Amazon rainforest.
“The caterpillar’s ‘hair’ actually consists of setae, which are long, fine silky appendages that, in this case, can cause serious skin irritations. If an unlucky person tries to grab one, they will get a handful of venom, released when the setae poke into skin. Like a bee sting, the injuries can be painful but, for most, are not life threatening.”
Edit: I shared the photo of the flannel moth caterpillar last night and a few people were wondering what it looks like after metamorphosis – here it is in its majestic furriness. For those of you who are curious, the caterpillar also comes in a white variety. Plus you can see its cocoon below, because everything about it is fascinating.
Top hoto by Phil Torres/PeruNature.com — with RooM ZooM and Aniruth Kannan.