Yes, we said "dangerous" and "caterpillars" in the same sentence. That's because in Louisiana, almost everything in nature is dangerous in one way or another, and that includes cute little caterpillars.

Most people who are familiar with the outdoors in Louisiana, whether its because of hunting or gardening, are aware of these little guys, and the dangers they bring. But it's always surprising to some to find out that fuzzy little caterpillars can harm you. Especially little kids who love to pick up bugs.

So let's take a few minutes to review some of these with the help of LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill and Here are the 5 Most Dangerous Caterpillars in Louisiana.

1. Puss Moth Caterpillar


"The puss moth caterpillar resembles a small egg-shaped object covered with a light to dark brown fuzzy fur. In the New Orleans area, they also are called stinging asps. (The asp was the snake Cleopatra reportedly used to kill herself.) The fine tan hairs that thickly cover their bodies deliver a painful sting.

Be vigilant when working in the garden and wear gloves and long sleeves."

2. IO Moth Caterpillar


"IO moth caterpillars are lime or chartreuse with thin white and burgundy stripes down each side. Their bodies are covered with clusters of chartreuse spines. These pests are found on a variety of plants, but seem to be particularly common on crape myrtles."

3. Saddleback Caterpillar


"The Saddleback caterpillar has prominent barbed horns on the front and rear of its body and a noticeable green saddle on its center body."

4. Black Moth Caterpillar


"The Buck Moth caterpillar has a reddish head and small white spots and spiny barbed structures protruding from each segment of its body.

From late November through December, the adult buck moths, which have charcoal black and white wings and rusty orange on their abdomens, appear from underground, where they spent the summer in the pupal or resting stage. Once they emerge, the male and female moths mate, and the females lay clusters of 80 to 100 eggs on small twigs in the canopy of oak trees — especially live oaks and water oaks."

5. American Dagger Moth Caterpillar


"All of these caterpillars produce a painful, burning sting when their spines are touched. For most people, a caterpillar sting will provide some discomfort but often isn't a serious health threat. A caterpillar sting, however, can be serious to individuals allergic to insect venom. Those who are highly allergic to insect bites and stings should seek immediate medical attention when stung by a caterpillar."

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