Envenomation by the puss caterpillar (Megalopyge Opercularis)

      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.
      We discuss the case of a 52-year-old woman who developed urticarial lesions after the acute envenomation of a puss caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis). The puss caterpillar, one of more than 50 species of caterpillars that can cause envenomation in the United States, is considered to be one of the most serious. Its clinical presentation and current recommended treatments are reviewed.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
      ACEP Member Login
      ACEP Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Use your society credentials to access all journal content and features.

      Purchase one-time access:

      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • James MT
        • Harwood RF
        Herm's Medical Entomology.
        in: ed 6. Macmillan Co, St Louis1969: 400-403
        • Daly JJ
        • Derrick BL
        Puss caterpillar sting in Arkansas.
        South Med J. 1975; 68: 893-894
        • Bishopp FC
        Puss caterpillar and effects of its sting on man.
        USDA Department Circulation. 1923; 288: 1-4
        • El-Mallakh RS
        • Baumgartner DL
        • Fares N
        “Sting” of puss caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularis (Lepidoptera: Megalopygidae): First report of cases from Florida and review of the literature.
        J Fla Med Assoc. 1986; 73: 7
        • Foot NC
        Pathology of the dermatitis caused by Megalopyge opercularis, a Texas caterpillar.
        J Exp Med. 1922; 35: 737-753
        • Micks DW
        Clinical effects of the sting of the ‘puss caterpillar’ (Megalopyge opercularis S&A) on man.
        Tex Reports of Bin and Med. 1952;
        • McGovern JP
        • Barkin GB
        • McElhenney TR
        • et al.
        Megalopyge opercularis. Observation of its life history, natural history of its sting to man, and reports of epidemic.
        JAMA. 1961; 175: 1155-1158
        • McMillan JP
        • Purcell WR
        Hazards to health. The puss caterpillar, alias woolly slug.
        N Engl J Med. 1964; 271: 147-149
        • Alexander JO
        Arthropods and Human Skin.
        in: Springer-Verlag, New York1984: 177-197
        • Flitters NE
        Stinging caterpillars “asps” in the lower Rio Grande Valley.
        J Rio Grande Hort Soc. 1960; 14: 189-199
        • Lucas TL
        Poisoning by Megalopyge opercularis (“puss caterpillar”).
        JAMA. 1942; 119: 877-880
        • Scott HG
        Stinging caterpillars.
        Pest Control. 1964; 32: 24-25
        • Dean HA
        • Schuster MF
        Puss caterpillars on citrus.
        J Rio Grande Valley Hort Soc. 1963; 17: 112-115
        • Gilmer PM
        Comparative study of poison apparatus of certain Lepidopterous larvae.
        Ann Ent Soc Amer. 1925; 18: 203-239
        • Valle JR
        • Picarelli ZP
        • Prado JL
        • et al.
        Histamine content and pharmacological properties of crude extracts from setae of urticating caterpillars.
        Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. 1954; 98: 324-334
      1. Puss caterpillars: A new problem for PCO's.
        Pest Control. 1961; 29 (Anonymous): 15-18