Last year I found this caterpillar of Trabala Species of Lappet moth at Mangalore.
Lappet moth belongs to family of moths called Lasiocampidae. They are also known as eggars, snout moths. There are over 2000 species worldwide, and probably not all have been named or studied.
Their common name snout moths comes from their unique protruding mouth parts of some species that resemble a large nose. They are called lappet moths due to the decorative skin flaps found on the caterpillar’s prolegs.
The name eggars comes from the neat egg-shaped cocoons of some species.
Caterpillars of this family are large in size and are most often hairy, especially on their sides. Most have skin flaps on their prolegs and a pair of dorsal glands on their abdomen. They feed on leaves of many different trees and shrubs and often use these same plants to camouflage their cocoons. Some species are called Tent caterpillars due to their habit of living together in nests spun of silk.
As adults, the moths in this family are large bodied with broad wings and may still have the characteristic elongated mouth parts, or have reduced mouth parts and not feed as adults. They are either diurnal or nocturnal. Females lay a large number of eggs which are flat in appearance and either smooth or slightly pitted. In tent caterpillars, the eggs are deposited in masses and covered with a material that hardens in air. Females are generally larger and slower than the males, but the sexes otherwise resemble each other. Moths are typically brown or grey, with hairy legs and bodies.
Almost all stages these caterpillar are poisonous to human beings. Their hair results in urticarial rashes. When your skin brushes against these caterpillars, the spines break off, releasing an irritating fluid that produces an immediate stinging, burning sensation. The numbness and swelling that follow may extend to your whole arm or leg in severe cases. Red blotches may persist for a couple of days, accompanied by a weeping rash. Associated lymph nodes may swell and be tender for 12 to 24 hours. Systemic reactions may include nausea and vomiting.
If one affects you, treat the symptoms. To remove any spines still in the skin, gently stick a piece of adhesive tape to the site and then pull it away. Applying cold compresses can lessen the
pain and swelling. Pain medications and topical corticosteroid creams may help. If the symptoms include systemic reactions consult medical help.
You might be wondering why I am showing you this caterpillar which was an year old. There is a reason wait for my blog tomorrow for next installment of three part series on Lappet moths.