When I lived in the Phillipines one of the first
things we were warned about was the caterpillars. Any caterpillars just to be on
the safe side. Over there they are covered in an acid and touching them would
result in a burn. If you knew you touched one and washed your hands quick enough
you were fine but left alone it would develope like a burn from oven cleaners.
Here in the states I have not been stung by a caterpillar. Perhaps the one you
showed is different than the ones we have here that look similar, the ones in
the Phillipines are identical on cursory inspection. I did not take a closer
look than that while I was there.
Only a few caterpillars sting, most are entirely harmless.
In her wonderful book "Moths of the Limberlost", 1912, Gene Stratton-Porter
calls the caterpillar of Hyperchiria Io "her childhood enemy of the corn"
because she would occationally be stung by them while playing in the corn.
However, her photograph of it does not look like yours. I don't recall that
she mentions any other stinging caterpillers.
Dennis Kramb wrote:
> Someone else contacted me
offlist about having been stung by a > caterpillar too. I was
surprised but then I read about it on that > website, so I guess I
better be more careful.