The specimen pictured here was collected from redbud in late September.

Caterpillars are generally present from early April into October. Several species of caterpillars respond in various ways to noise or motion; some, in so doing may utilize unique specialized structures. The full-grown caterpillar is about 23/8 inches long. The caterpillar occurs on a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and other plants, including corn. Caterpillars are larvae (the “worm” forms) of insects in the order Lepidoptera­­the butterflies, skippers, and moths. Immature Insects. Subsequently this dries and becomes a fine powder which, if cocoons (See Photo 15) are handled, sifts out on the skin. Laurelcherry Smoky Moth (Neoprocris floridana)* (Photo 16).

These white insects are related to the wooly bear variety, which are rusty brown and black, but aren't poisonous. Represented are nine families that contain one or more species known, or reported, to be urticaceous or otherwise capable of causing irritating reactions on contact with human skin. Several species of the tussock moth family are important defoliators of trees.

The sting inflicted on humans is not from a deliberate attack by the caterpillar, but the result of contact, usually inadvertent, with toxin-bearing setae or spines.

What are some of the caterpillar's distinguishing features? Three other species are common: pinkstriped oakworm, orangestriped oakworm, and greenstriped mapleworm.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) (Photo 13). The nettling sensation produced is mild and short-lived. The typical caterpillar has a distinct head and a cylindrical body composed of thirteen segments.

The primary identifying characteristic for the caterpillar is a row of whitish diamond- or keyhole – shaped spots down the midline of the back. The full-grown caterpillar is 3 to 4 inches long, and appears in two color forms, green (pictured) and reddish brown. Saddleback Caterpillar (Sibine stimulea) (Photo 1).

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The monarch caterpillar ( Danaus plexippus) is quite easy to identify with its black, white, and yellow stripy appearance. However, the principal “stinging” agent associated with the two Alabama species, and other members of the genus, is a substance produced by pupating caterpillars.

A look back at the esteemed personalities who've left us this year, who'd touched us with their innovation, creativity and humanity. The body is brown to grayish black, and sprinkled liberally with small yellowish dots.

There is a narrow yellowish, cream, or white line down the midline of the back, and wider cream or white lines along the edges of the back. Updated on: October 15, 2015 / 7:29 PM

This species has no known common name. When these caterpillars sting, the symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that can last hours.

The following is offered as a guide to recognition of stinging caterpillars found on Alabama trees. Medical Entomology. These are rather large caterpillars, 2 to 4 inches long. Most caterpillars are plant feeders.

Overall, the body is sparsely clothed with longer hairs.

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Along the body there are nine pairs of fleshy lateral processes which bear hidden urticating setae. Wash your contaminated clothes as well, as a few hairs or spines might remain.

In one group of notodontid caterpillars, prolegs on the last abdominal segment are long and form tail-like structures called stemapods (Photo 27). Underneath the exterior of the puss caterpillar are small spines that break off; the rear ends of the American dagger moth caterpillars have bristles that embed in skin. Several species of hornworms feed on foliage of trees. The puss caterpillar (the adult is called southern flannel moth) is our most “dangerous” stinging caterpillar.

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