Stinging “Worm” is Puss Caterpillar

A reader just wrote to us from Guyana (a country in South America) and asked us to speculate on what kind of worm is found in an almond tree. According to the reader, the worm doesn’t harm the tree, but touching it immediately leaves a blister and rash on the skin. Our reader also mentioned that this worm is found in other trees besides almond trees!

We don’t have a picture or any physical description of the worm, but we will make do with what we have been told!

UPDATE! All About Worms has partnered with HealthLabs so that
you can get tested for parasites at a fully-qualified lab near you,
no doctor's visit required
! Check it out at HealthLabs.com!

We believe there is a good chance that the “worm” our reader is talking about is the flannel moth caterpillar, also called a puss caterpillar. These caterpillars look like cotton balls with long spines shooting out. The spines are venomous, and upon contact cause stinging, a severe rash, and inflammation. Sometimes, someone who has come into contact with a puss caterpillar will also experience a headache and nausea, and might even need medical attention. In fact, this caterpillar is thought to be one of the moist venomous caterpillars the United States.

Local South Americans often warn visitors about this “worm”, which eats the foliage of many trees, including almond and mango trees! We hope our reader is asking about this specimen out of curiosity and not because he has come into contact with it!

To end, a reader asked us to weigh in on a creature that is found in almond trees in South America and that can cause some severe symptoms if you touch it. We believe that he is talking about a puss caterpillar, which is the larva of a flannel moth.

No Paywall Here!
All About Worms is and always has been a free resource. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or make you give us your email address, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to pay our research authors, and to run and maintain the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep All About Worms free?
Click for amount options
Other Amount:
What info did we provide for you today?:
Summary
Stinging
Article Name
Stinging
Description
A reader just wrote to us from Guyana (a country in South America) and asked us to speculate on what kind of worm is found in an almond tree. According to the reader, the worm doesn't harm the tree, but touching it immediately leaves a blister and rash on the skin.
Author

Leave a Comment (but to submit a question please use the "Submit a Question" link above; we can't respond to questions posted as a comment)

Menu / Search

All About Worms