Hairy Black Caterpillars

A wild roller coaster ride. That phrase describes the fluctuating annual population numbers of many insects. Some years insect ‘X’ is just EVERYWHERE! Other years, insect ‘X’ just can’t be found.

This year, that wild roller coaster is apparently nearing its apex for hairy black caterpillars! (see photo below) I’ll bet you’ve noticed them all over the place.

I’m sure Dr. Daniel Janzen* knows exactly what these caterpillars will transform into; hell, he probably first named the species. But I do not know the species or even the family. I’ll bet it’s a moth.

Most folks who have been down here for more than a day or two already know the Hairy Caterpillar Cardinal Rule–NEVER TOUCH A HAIRY CATERPILLAR. Those hairs are urticating** hairs and will cause pain, swelling, rash and possibly even a systemic reaction. So, do not touch…no tocar…ne pas toucher…non toccare…不要碰.


**causing a stinging or prickling sensation like that given by a nettle.”the urticating hairs”.

ps: I’ll bet some of you know the species; let us know.