February 2015

Caterpillar Dermatitis


Contact with the larval stage of select insects in the order Lepidoptera can result in allergic reactions and irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. The irritation comes from the short hairs (setae) of these caterpillars, either through direct contact or when the setae become airborne. In some cases, setae can cause hypersensitive reactions.


Orgyia leucostigma
Orgyia leucostigma
Caterpillar Derm

Vector – Orgyia leucostigma

The larvae of the white-marked tussock moth can be found
throughout eastern North America feeding on a wide variety of both
hardwoods and conifers. Defoliating outbreaks on maple and elm trees
are occasionally reported.