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Caterpillars of the World - Peru
Flannel moth
Megalopyge ( species unidentified )
Superfamily - ZYGAENOIDEA
Family - MEGALOPYGIDAE
subfamily - MEGALOPYGINAE
Tribe -

Megalopyge sp, Peru David Fischer

Introduction
There are about 220 species in the family Megalopygidae, the vast majority of which are found in the neotropics, with a few representatives in North America and Africa.
Virtually all the species have bizarre and often very beautiful caterpillars, often covered in a dense layer of hair, but the adult moths are dull in comparison.
Habitats
This species inhabits rainforest, elevation unspecified.
Lifecycle
The fluffy caterpillar looks "friendly" enough to pick up, but to do so would be unwise. Hidden under the soft hairs are poisonous spines which pierce the skin and can cause an extreme allergic reaction resulting in rashes, blisters, inflammation, and breathing difficulty.
Adult
Adults of Megalopygidae are generally sombre in colour, although there are a few exceptions with yellow wings or red abdomens. Their wings are small in relation to their wide muscular thorax and long furry abdomen. The antennae are pectinate and conspicuous - some genera such as Norape and Aithorape have orange or bright red antennae contrasting with pure white wings. The Podalia species illustrated below however is more typical of the family as a whole.
Podalia tympana, Satipo, Peru  Adrian Hoskins

 

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