September 2015

Caterpillar Dermatitis

Caterpillar dermatitis

Vector – Thaumetopoea pityocampa

The pine processionary moth is a highly destructive species found throughout the Mediterranean region (e.g., France, Spain, Italy, Cyprus) and other select areas throughout Europe. The caterpillars feed on the foliage of pines and some other conifer tree species like cedars, rarely causing the death of the tree directly, but leaving it vulnerable to disease and other pests. Defoliation can also cause a significant impact upon tree growth and forest health.

Larval Habitat

Forested areas in the Mediterranean region and other areas in Europe and the Middle East


Whether through occupational or recreational exposure, caterpillar dermatitis can affect anyone in a region where the caterpillars are present. The caterpillar can cause dermatological reactions in humans and pets by contact with its irritating larvae hairs. Symptoms include intense, continuous itching accompanied by skin eruptions. In rare cases, fever and anaphylaxis syndrome can occur.


Thaumetopoea pityocampa
Thaumetopoea pityocampa
Thaumetopoea pityocampa