|Puss caterpillar - MDC|
First let me be clear. You are extremely unlikely to run into one in the Ozarks. The article was prompted by questions from residents from the Bootheel. Although it looks like an aerial view of Donald Trump's head, beneath the soft fuzzy exterior lie toxic spines that stick to your skin and cause pain greater than a bee sting, frequently radiating up an arm and lasting hours. If you're curious read more in this National Geographic link.
|Saddleback caterpillar - Nikole Loomis|
|Wooly bear - Wikimedia,|
Most of the stinging caterpillars look threatening. If it looks like it would hurt, you are best to believe it. Common examples in Ozark species include the stinging rose caterpillar (Parasa indetermina), buck moth caterpillar (Hemileuca maia), and the Io moth caterpillar (Automeris io).
|Io moth caterpillar - Tim Lethbridge|
|Buck moth caterpillar - Donna|
|Stinging rose caterpillar - Derek Hauffe|
Probably the Missouri caterpillar voted "Least Likely to Touch" would be the hag moth caterpillar (Phobetron pithecium), also called the monkey slug. The common response would be somewhere between "what kind of creature is that?" and "Yuck!" Good protection, as it too has stinging hairs.
|Hag moth caterpillar - Jo Ann Poe-McGavin|
"Stings from some venomous caterpillars can be quite painful, but not deadly, according to Lawrence. Stings can be covered in scotch tape to remove any remaining spines, and then washed thoroughly with soap and water to clean the wound. Applying ice or baking soda may help reduce the pain. Stings should be observed to ensure allergic reactions don't occur."Special thanks to all those who post their photographs to Bugguide,net and other sources using a Creative Commons License or otherwise permitting their use for educational purposes. Consider this when posting your photographs.