July 25, 2017

From Obama Flatworm to Donald Trump Caterpillar

The Donald Trump Caterpillar – the Peruvian Comb-over (otherwise known as the Asp Caterpillar)

 

Here at GoTo4Gardening, we are not out to mock the President-elect and his choice of hairstyle. But … after posting last week about the Obama Flatworm, we thought we would also tell you about the caterpillar that has the common name ‘The Donald Trump caterpillar’.

 

Before we get started, let’s just get two things straight:

  1. The Donald Trump caterpillar has not been found in the UK
  2. If a caterpillar looks like The Donald’s hair, we really would recommend that you leave it well alone!

 

The Donald Trump Caterpillar, otherwise known as the Asp Caterpillar, has the latin name Megalopyge opercularis and transforms into the beautiful, and still quite fluffy-looking, Flannel Moth. The hairs on the Asp caterpillar are actually hollow and venomous spines (I told you to stay clear!) and, according the Univeristy of Florida, the Asp caterpillar is one of the most poisonous in North America! Several caterpillars of the genus Megalopyge are found in the south of the US, South America, and Mexico.

flannel-moth
The Flannel Moth

 

The Asp Caterpillar Sting

Those luscious locks that are actually spines are what is know as ‘urticating hairs’. The word ‘urticating’ means that the spines are highly irritating. The hairs break away from the caterpillar and the recipient will experience itching. If, however, you happen to receive the Donald Trump caterpillar’s full-blown sting, you will face an unpleasant surprise. The barbs are mini hypodermic needles are linked to gland cells full of venom. The pain is intense and continues for 12 hours (minimum!) Oh, and you’re also very likely to experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, and difficultly breathing.

 

The Schmidt Pain Index

Some of you may have heard of the Schmidt scale, named after Dr. Justin Schmidt. This particular entomologist (scientists who study bugs), developed a ranking system based on the pain caused by being stung. Hall, another entomologist described the pain of being stung by an Asp caterpillar as:

“The pain is a deep, aching pain. It feels like it goes all the way to the bone. If you get stung on the finger the pain radiates up the arm. The swelling can go up to the armpit.”

… and that was ‘only’ the pain from the sting of a newly hatched asp caterpillar, they triple in size before turning into a moth!! The asp caterpillar’s sting become more powerful because as they shed their skin they eat it; poisonous spines and all.  Each shed results in a caterpillar with more of a fiery, stinging punch.

Argh! I’ve been stung!

So, what can you do if you are in one of the countries where the Donald Trump caterpillar resides and you are stung? Here are some helpful suggestions I have found on websites of the people who know:

  • Duct tape. Apparently this DIY staple is a useful tool to make sure you have removed all of the spines.
  • Ice packs. To minimize swelling.
  • Medical advice. With just a little knowledge of the Donald Trump caterpillar, this is probably advice you should be seeking ASAP.
  • Swear! Not particularly my advice, but I found this ‘top tip’ on the site of an experienced entomologist. Hey, if they say it helps, who am I to disagree?!

 

 

… and finally

 

Are there any other animals who share The Donald’s hair style?

According to the Huffington Post, there are 11 animals who share Donald Trump’s hair (let’s assume they mean ‘have the same hair style’, rather than sharing the hair that is on his head …)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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