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January 1959

Pathology of the Dermatitis Produced by the Urticating Caterpillar, Automeris Io

Author Affiliations

New Orleans

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;79(1):81-85. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560130083009


The order Lepidoptera contains many species of urticating caterpillars that can produce lesions in man. The more commonly known species in this country include the puss caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis), the flannel moths (Megalopyge crispata and M. pyxidfera), the saddle-back caterpillar (Sibine stimulea), the brown-tail moth (Euproctis phaeorrhoea), and the Io moth larva (Automeris io).

The puss and Io moth caterpillars are very common in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Many cases of dermatitis from their venom occur each season. Bishopp1 describes an epidemic of thousands of cases in Texas due to Megalopyge opercularis. In one city the schools were ordered closed until shade trees in the vicinities could be sprayed to destroy the caterpillars.

Beyer2 described the signs and symptoms of contact venenation from the puss caterpillar which he experienced personally. There was immediate burning of the hand which proceeded

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