Habitat: east coast of the United States, and as far inland as Oklahoma
Status: No Conservation Concerns
The Black-waved Flannel Moth (Megalopyge crispata) is one of the most unsuspecting creatures you will ever come across. Imagine taking a casual stroll through the woods when you come upon a pile of fluff just chillen’ on a branch. You probably wouldn’t think too much of it. But you should. Because what you’re looking at is a pile of moving, living fluff. The caterpillar of this moth species begins its life as a white curly mess of hairs and then slowly grows into a darker, almost burnt-orange form with a much thicker head body of hair.
The above is the older version of the white ball of fluff you originally found. Oh, and a warning to the wise: make sure your curiosity doesn’t gets the better of you when dealing with these creatures. You never want to pick one up because this seemingly innocent and cuddly-looking thing is actually adorned with SPINES that stick out from its underbelly. Those hairs are simply ornamental, making it tempting to touch. In the picture shown above, the caterpillar is now just about fully grown and ready to transform into the final stage of its life: THE BUNNY STAGE!
Just look at the ‘ears’ on those guys! How ADORABLE are they? It’s pretty incredible that a mass of white hairs can turn into this cute little fellow, don’t you think? Luckily, they lose their ability to sting you at this point in the game so feel free to go wild and pick them up. Just make sure to be gentle 🙂
I have a confession: I love animals. Join me and the rest of the Featured Creature community as we learn about the weirdest, coolest, and craziest animals out there. Including your dog, Mr. Scrufflebutt (if you submit him!).