Toxic ‘Toupee’: Explaining the Most Venomous Caterpillar in the U.S.
This furry puss caterpillar can cause more pain than a bee sting.
No warm and fuzzy here—a possible boom in a highly toxic but irresistibly touchable caterpillar is sending people in the eastern U.S. to the hospital.
Young children from Florida to North Carolina are reporting excruciating pain after coming into contact with the most venomous caterpillar in the U.S., the furry puss caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis), according to news reports. Some have petted the insect; others have been injured when the caterpillars fell onto them from trees.
The puss caterpillar got its name because it resembles a cuddly house cat, said University of Florida entomologist Don Hall. While these insects may look soft, their outer comb-over (which some have compared to a toupee or the coif of Donald Trump)