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Puss Moth Caterpillar.jpg

Puss moth caterpillars (Megalopyge opercularis), of the order Lepidoptera, are also known as asps. They are one of the most toxic caterpillars in North America. Puss moth caterpillars are endemic to the southern US and live in shade trees and shrubbery around homes and schools and in parks. The asp caterpillar produces 2 generations a year, leading to a bimodal peak in late spring and late fall. They are teardrop shaped and, because they have long silky hair, resemble a tuft of cotton or fur. Their color varies from yellow or gray to reddish brown. When a puss moth caterpillar rubs or is pressed against skin, venomous hairs become embedded.

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