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Soft and Fluffy – Flannel Moths and Puss Caterpillars

14 Jan
A fluffy megalopygid moth rest on a leaf at night (Welder Wildlife Refuge, TX).

A flannel moth rests on a leaf (Megalopygidae).

I found this fluffy little moth resting on a leaf near a light at the Welder Wildlife Refuge.  The soft, fuzzy appearance of the moths gives them their common name, flannel moths (Megalopygidae).  These moths are probably best known for their strange, furred looking caterpillars (called asps or puss caterpillars) which can deliver a painful, long-lasting sting with the venomous spines hidden under their soft furry countenance.  The cocoons of these moths have an interesting trap-door style “lid”, which allows an easy emergence for the adult moth.