I was much happier before I knew these existed
July 31, 2006 10:48 PM   Subscribe

EEEK! (YouTube) [more]
posted by madamjujujive (79 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Those of you who live in the American South, Mexico, or Central America may recognize this ambulating denizen from hell not as a "Bolivia bug" as labeled but as the puss caterpillar or the early stage of a flannel moth. Should you be among those who have a chance encounter - they like to hang around fruit trees and rose bushes - take great care because they pack very vicious sting.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:48 PM on July 31, 2006

Metafilter: DON'T TOUCH IT.
posted by rsanheim at 10:50 PM on July 31, 2006


i'll get you for this, madam!
posted by Hat Maui at 10:58 PM on July 31, 2006

Our God is astounding in the variety he put into creation.
posted by jimmy at 10:59 PM on July 31, 2006

Lord have mercy. That thing is sort of awesome, and I never, ever want to meet one, except under the most controlled of circumstances. For example, with that unspeakable demon-thing behind several layers of bulletproof glass, and myself sobbing hysterically.


Sorry for the derail, but this related YouTube video also blew my mind. What in the blazes is it?
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:04 PM on July 31, 2006

Oh my stars and garters, that's adorable! How the hell am I not supposed to pet it??
*shakes fist at The Creator*
posted by maryh at 11:06 PM on July 31, 2006

Hmm. Looks extraterrestrial. Did it by any chance have a call that sounded like "Chtorr! Chtorrrr! Chtorrrrrr!"?
posted by The Tensor at 11:08 PM on July 31, 2006

I watched the video before I read this thread, and my first thoughts were "that's not EEEK!, that's awesome, and I totally want to touch that little furry critter."

I guess that's why I live in the city & not the jungle... my jungle dwelling ancestors all died from poison cute-a-pillar instincts.
posted by jonson at 11:12 PM on July 31, 2006

It looks like a little space shizui. I want to knit it a tiny vest! But then I'll go into shock fastening the tiny buttons! Arrrgh!
posted by maryh at 11:14 PM on July 31, 2006 [2 favorites]

Spawn of Chupacabra! Apply directly to forehead!
Spawn of Chupacabra! Apply directly to forehead!
Spawn of Chupacabra! Apply directly to forehead!

I, for one, welcome our new Spawn of Chupacabra overlords.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:17 PM on July 31, 2006 [5 favorites]

Dang, mjjj, that is one hairy bug! Megalopyge opercularis.
The flannel moth is really pretty but reading the horror stories about the caterpillar sting, yikes. Alive or dead. Here's useful info about them.

Puss caterpillar, the puss cat. In Mexico they're called el perrito, the little dog.

Wikipedia says: M. opercularis can be found on oaks, elms, citrus and other trees, and many garden plants such as roses and ivy. It is distributed throughout the southern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central America. Who knew?

Generally I like bugs of all kinds but, when I lived in the country, didn't like the visits of the giant (and hairy) huntsman spiders when I was all snuggled up in bed reading. brrr.
posted by nickyskye at 11:20 PM on July 31, 2006

Ah, the puss caterpillar, who wouldn't want to pet it! Perhaps it needs a name change ala Mahi Mahi?
posted by blahblahblah at 11:23 PM on July 31, 2006

There's nothing in it for scale (like a coin or a pack of cigarettes). How big are they?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:23 PM on July 31, 2006

Wow. Like deep undersea creatures, there's so much biological diversity on Earth that we have only scratched the surface...and that's just by the experts!

That thing was incredibly furry....I can't imagine an evolutionary advantage this creature would have with so much fur. Able to cool itself off when it gets wet? Anyone have any ideas?
posted by zardoz at 11:28 PM on July 31, 2006

Alternatively repulsive and cute. I'm tired and can't be bothered with the last post about democracy and big business. Although, that post looks interesting and thought provoking. But at bedtime, I'm all about strange creatures.

I, also, watched the related Throbbing Mass of Caterpillar video. What the heck is going on with that? Why are they doing that? Somebody, please explain.
posted by Titania at 11:28 PM on July 31, 2006

jimmy writes "Our God is astounding in the variety he put into creation."

And His celestial economy, in using the same DNA, the same codons, the same homologous structures seemingly modified by adaptation, in each of His separate Special Creations.
posted by orthogonality at 11:32 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

mnah mnah! Doo doo dee doo doo!

(it does look muppety to me)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:41 PM on July 31, 2006

this page has more videos of the beast but they are realplayer clips (yet more pain this thing inflicts). SCDB, from what I have read, they seem to be from three fourths of an inch to about 2 inches.

Sticherbeat, that is something satanic, I think. And nickyskye, now that you have raised the creepy spider issue, I realize that any safety I felt living so far from these caterpillars is just illusory. Heck, there's probably a brown recluse lurking in my bedroom right now! (don't look, I mean it.)

posted by madamjujujive at 11:42 PM on July 31, 2006

posted by orthogonality

mm-hmm, yes, yes. i don't think you looked at the youtube link very closely.
posted by jimmy at 11:59 PM on July 31, 2006

I dunno what those throbbing 'pillars are up to, but it reminds me of an odd bunch of aphid-like creatures I recently saw sitting on a wisteria in LA. They sat quite still for a few seconds before all of them suddenly wiggled, and then went still again. A few of them might be out of sync, but hundreds moved in perfect unison. Very odd. Can anyone explain?
posted by Scram at 12:02 AM on August 1, 2006

One word, Scram. Rove.
posted by maryh at 12:05 AM on August 1, 2006

posted by knave at 12:09 AM on August 1, 2006

lol, You're funny mjjj.

As a kid I had a phobia/chronic nightmare fear about there being a black widow spider above the book shelf in my bedroom. Sometimes the not so scary looking things are the most dangerous.

Yes, the results of a brown recluse spider bite are jaw-droppingly awful.

The huntsman spiders were just big and scary. I did get a bite once when a baby was in my trousers and bit my ass, lol. Yeowch but not a big deal. Once in a while I would wake up with a fat lip because, while I was sleeping, one of these brute spiders would sit above my head on the ceiling, eating and do a small drop of white poop, which would land on my face. The toxin was strong enough for me to make a golf ball sized welt.

Those "throbbing" caterpillars look like Pine Caterpillars.
posted by nickyskye at 12:15 AM on August 1, 2006

It is cute and cuddly and yet completely at odds with what the human definition of these adjectives ascribes. It suggests that we should run away and yet the hapless humans who have recorded this specimen's slow and lumbering movements are transfixed. It is an anachronism wrapped not so much in an enigma, but perhaps a dichotomy meant to be bifurcated into shades of grey. It is, in short, a Metafilter post, for which one must cry out, "EEEEEEEEEEEKKKKK!" when a more pressing desire of two-way communication between the more feral species (homo sapien) and this innocuous and less mentally afflicted one will be disseminated and later forgotten. It is a lost moment in interspecies understanding.
posted by ed at 12:16 AM on August 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

jimmy, maybe this God fellow could spend a little less time on variety and more on some of the more problematic aspects of human design instead of creating some freakish stinging caterpillar that got on YouTube and gave me a nightmare. We are in desperate need of redesign on, the birth canal (too small, and crazy anyway clearly god is a man), teeth (braces, brushing, wtf), the eye (glasses or lasik anyone?), the wrist, knees and elbow (can these joints just work please), the stomach (heartburn, etc), the appendix, and the cause of my suffering today the sinuses. Perhaps in one of these divinely written tomes some mention might have been made of germ theory (more specific than don't eat pork), and WTF is up with germs anyway? Perhaps a revelation about the 4 humors being off base, so we could have avoided a couple thousand years of leaches and vomiting as the cure all. Fortunately once we figured a few things out about 120 years ago, science fixed many of the problems and vastly improved things in just a short time.
posted by humanfont at 12:19 AM on August 1, 2006

Pics of the puss caterpillar stings.
posted by nickyskye at 12:32 AM on August 1, 2006

Fake. It looks and moves like a battery operated toy.
posted by beno at 12:35 AM on August 1, 2006

That thing's awesome looking. Too bad it stings.
posted by juv3nal at 12:41 AM on August 1, 2006

Seriously, beno, you need to spend some time outdoors. Wth a magnifying glass. The stuff you'll see will blow your snarky little mind.
posted by maryh at 12:43 AM on August 1, 2006

In Houston (where I lived until I was fifteen) these things were all around my friend's house, and seemingly exclusively there. Us being kids, and his mother being severely mentally ill, we always called them asps, as we thought that was what they were called. I know better now, but I stil can't hear the word "asp" without conjuring up an image of one of these evil things.

The worst aspect of these was their seeming ability to remain perfectly still for days at a time in places where you were most likely to stick your hand without checking first. I don't know what these things were hunting for, but what they generally got were human hands and screaming barrages of profanity.

I try to hold some affection for all creatures, but these are forever in my mind as the epitome of bottomless hatred made flesh.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:43 AM on August 1, 2006

2 inches? Damn! I was thinking 'left slipper'.
Thanks MJJ...I think.
posted by peacay at 12:49 AM on August 1, 2006

Navelgazer, But they are also called asps.
posted by nickyskye at 12:54 AM on August 1, 2006

It makes me think of Tribbles. ("They do in fact have one redeeming characteristic: They do not talk too much.")
posted by judlew at 1:08 AM on August 1, 2006

posted by humanfont

yep. i don't know why you're telling me this. RBMiami on youtube would probably be a better audience.
posted by jimmy at 2:11 AM on August 1, 2006

Looks like a pre-pupae version of a wookie.

Hey, madamjjj, you know, as much as I think your posts are very excellent and all pleaseplease don't do this again i did so not need to see the brown recluse bite. agh. squick. k? pleez?
posted by Zack_Replica at 2:21 AM on August 1, 2006

See what happens when you forget to use quotation marks?
posted by bashos_frog at 3:17 AM on August 1, 2006

i guess! god damn.
posted by jimmy at 3:34 AM on August 1, 2006

I just want to encourage the future use of the 'thewillies' tag.
posted by mediareport at 4:13 AM on August 1, 2006

That's not a caterpillar...it's a catbus!

posted by UbuRoivas at 4:57 AM on August 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

While hiking one day, the larva of one of these ended up on my shoulder strap, right next to my neck.

Sudden stabs of very sharp pain for no reason ensued. Once I figured out what was going on, I pulled off my pack, pulled out the leatherman, and guided the wee, but surprisingly potent beasty, to a branch to safely continue on his way.

If there is a god, he has a lot to answer for.
posted by eriko at 5:01 AM on August 1, 2006

Well, I'm never going outside again.
posted by skryche at 5:10 AM on August 1, 2006

I love all creatures great and small etc, but damnit, bugs shouldn't look like puppies. It's just wrong.
(Just as puppies shouldn't look like rats. People, it's time to get rid of those tiny yappy "dogs" that are actually some kind of hairless vermin.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:19 AM on August 1, 2006

I grew up in Texas and had the, hmm, priviledge of being stung by an asp and bitten by a brown recluse. Back of the thigh for the brown and on the forearm for the asp. I was pretty young when it all happened, maybe 8 or 9 years old. The brown bite caused similar necrotic problems to the link madamejujujive posted. I don't remember the pain all that much, but then again I don't remember the pain from when my eardrums were punctured to relieve the pressure from a couple of years earlier, either.

fwiw, this all took place in the late '60s / early '70s. Time and distance are great.
posted by michswiss at 5:25 AM on August 1, 2006

And here I was thinking I'd watch a nice video while eating breakfast.
posted by obvious at 5:29 AM on August 1, 2006

I am glad I didn't know how big that thing was from the video. I was sort of enjoying thinking it was a foot long or something. How freaky.
posted by thekilgore at 5:56 AM on August 1, 2006

My first instinct was to squee, followed by an overwhelming urge to hug and kiss it.

I probably shouldn't breed, 'cause it seems that evolution done me wrong. Really don't want to be passing that "hug the creepy stinging monster" gene along.
posted by zerokey at 5:57 AM on August 1, 2006

posted by delmoi at 6:00 AM on August 1, 2006

I got a leech in my right eye once. The big end chewed on the white of my eyeball while the little end locked on to the inside of my eyelid. There was nothing I could do about it. I had to wait until it filled up and dropped off by itself. It was about the size of a grape by the time it did that. It left a trail of slime over my pupil that made vision in that eye go blurry for half an hour, and the damage done by the chewing end made blood leak sideways under the surface of my eyeball so the entire white turned solid red. It stayed solid red for three days. It was the grossest thing that's ever happened to me and you're all bloody lucky I never took a picture.

My other pearl of hard-won creepy-crawly wisdom: when you next go skinny dipping at a Western Australian beach, make sure you shake this guy out of your shorts before pulling them back on.
posted by flabdablet at 6:16 AM on August 1, 2006 [6 favorites]

posted by carter at 6:31 AM on August 1, 2006

flabdablet, [tongue firmly in cheek]: you really should have taken pictures once every thirty minutes throughout your horrific experience. It would have made a great reference tool for future sufferers of eyelid eating leeches.
posted by michswiss at 6:36 AM on August 1, 2006

So cute! That thing can bite me anytime!
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:48 AM on August 1, 2006

Also - hi5 for jimmy!
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:51 AM on August 1, 2006

Well, that's Australia off of my "places to visit" list. Thanks, flabdablet.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:53 AM on August 1, 2006

Once in a while I would wake up with a fat lip because, while I was sleeping, one of these brute spiders would sit above my head on the ceiling, eating and do a small drop of white poop, which would land on my face. The toxin was strong enough for me to make a golf ball sized welt.

*curls up in fetal position under bed, first checking to make sure no furry spawn of satan are lurking there*
posted by jokeefe at 7:05 AM on August 1, 2006

So many of the world's deadliest animals live in Australia, it's a wonder any people there managed to even survive, let alone thrive...
posted by clevershark at 7:07 AM on August 1, 2006

It's cute and fuzzy! Why is it cute and fuzzy? If you pet it, it will hurt you!

Intelligent Design, my ass.

(Incidentally, I feel similarly about koalas. What cruel deity would create something with big fluffy ears and a big black nose and a fuzzy white belly and razor-sharp claws?)
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:07 AM on August 1, 2006

zerokey. . . bwaaahhahahah!
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:11 AM on August 1, 2006

That's a cool bug. Just reinforces the rule that if you don't know what it is, you shouldn't touch it.

Sorry for the derail, but this related YouTube video also blew my mind. What in the blazes is it?
posted by Sticherbeast

Going on just the video, it's possible they've got a parasite that makes them yell "EAT ME."
posted by zennie at 7:34 AM on August 1, 2006

I have a friend whose grandmother used to tell him that at night, while he slept, wolf spiders crawled on his face and drank the tears out of his eyes. It's good she didn't know about these things, or he'd still be in therapy.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:40 AM on August 1, 2006

KissKiss! for the cuddly.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:42 AM on August 1, 2006

Our God is astounding in the variety he put into creation.
posted by jimmy at 10:59 PM PST on July 31 [+fave] [!]

All Things Dull and Ugly

All things dull and ugly,
All creatures short and squat,
All things rude and nasty,
The Lord God made the lot.
Each little snake that poisons,
Each little wasp that stings,
He made their brutish venom.
He made their horrid wings.

All things sick and cancerous,
All evil great and small,
All things foul and dangerous,
The Lord God made them all.

Each nasty little hornet,
Each beastly little squid--
Who made the spikey urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!

All things scabbed and ulcerous,
All pox both great and small,
Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
The Lord God made them all.


posted by Stauf at 7:58 AM on August 1, 2006 [3 favorites]

GD it, I hate hairy bugs. Dunno what it is, but I just hate 'em. I'd sooner face down a grizzly then have one of those on me. Or even excessively close to me.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:06 AM on August 1, 2006

jimmy writes: "Our God is astounding in the variety he put into creation."

Well, some of His Creation anyway. An English cleric reportedly once asked the noted evolutionist J.B.S. Haldane what could be inferred about the Creator from the works of nature. Haldane is said to have replied, "An inordinate fondness for beetles."
posted by The Bellman at 8:09 AM on August 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

:( I wanna hug and pet it alot.

stupid two inch minion of pain and despair.

How can being cute and cuddly help this thing to survive? I'm so angry at the jungle now.

/grrrr face
posted by Lizc at 8:16 AM on August 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

Liz, the truth of the matter is that they evolved that way to feast on little girls--a plentiful food supply.
posted by fusinski at 8:50 AM on August 1, 2006

Cutest bug I've ever seen.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:50 AM on August 1, 2006

This thing is just like Elmo. Cute and cuddly and friendly-looking enough to draw you in close, just so it can stab you in the back, take your wallet, call you a sissy, and ride away on your bike. Goddamn Elmo.
posted by brain_drain at 8:54 AM on August 1, 2006

I am glad I live in a state much too cold in the winter for bugs to grow very large.
posted by drezdn at 8:55 AM on August 1, 2006

I just emptied an entire can of bug spray into my house. *hack/cough*
posted by taosbat at 9:27 AM on August 1, 2006

eriko, That Io Moth page was fascinating.

Adults emerge from their cocoons in late morning or early afternoon and then climb and hang so that their wings can be inflated with fluid pumped from the body.

How kind you were to escort the beastie back to plants. Nice.

Bookhouse, Isn't that weird how ye olde grandparents used to tell their kids psycho stories like that?

dang, michswiss, glad you survived the recluse bite. Whoa.

Stauf, That's a mischievous version! lol

flabdablet, Holy shit, you survived that leech bite?! Yikes. Major respect. It can happen in Germany too. Apparently leech bites can happen in a variety of vulnerable places.

In Africa they have the Loa Loa, the eye worm.

unnngggrrr, That monster centipede is a nightmare. In the latest King Kong movie they had giant versions and it's the only time in my life I involuntarily screamed in a movie. Once I went camping and sat down in the forest floor at night that was writhing in a carpet of them. (It was hard for me to actually write that sentence the memory is so revolting, still, after so many years.) I don't understand why I wasn't bitten.

The bug vacuum.
posted by nickyskye at 9:29 AM on August 1, 2006

I want a bug vacuum. The problems is, the Bolivia Bug would look up at me, whimper, do a little dance with its legs, make me think twice, and then I'd come to my senses and turn on the Powerful Suck Action only to find that, as I turn the knob from Ant to Beetle to Big Fucking Spider and max it out, and then go to suck this cute little bastard up, that it would only get half-sucked up into the tube and get stuck and then the bug vaccuum would give up and I wouldn't be able to get it out and it would dance and be cute halfway inside the tube and I would know that it was really writhing even more now, wanting to kill me.

I would now need to put the entire thing outside and sleep, defenseless, waiting for it to writhe out and exact vengeance by striking in the nighttime.

Bug vaccum? I think not.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:50 AM on August 1, 2006

The puss bug is adorable and like many others all I want to do is hug it and love it and pet it. And even though I now know that is a little one-inch pain delivery system, its furriness prevents me from being squicked out by it.

However, I am fairly certain that I will be sleeping with eyepatches on for the rest of my life. Spiders drinking my tears at night? Leeches sucking the blood from my eyeballs??
posted by LeeJay at 10:58 AM on August 1, 2006

I don't know what that is, but I'd like it escorted off the motherfucking plane now. Thanks.
posted by uosuaq at 1:56 PM on August 1, 2006

Navelgazer, But they are also called asps.

Well, you learn something new everyday, or relearn, or... I don't know. What do you call it when you find out that you were right and wrong about the same thing simlutaneously? Whatever.

The point is that the asp doesn't eat, but rather feeds on the pain it can cause to humans. It is strengthened by the screams of children and the tears of grown men. As they evolved, the ones with fur proved most able to attract unsuspecting tikes to touch them and thus endure unimaginable torture, thus ensuring the attration of equally hateful mates.

They are no part of God's creation, but rather an extension of the most wretched crevices of Satan's dark soul. Those of you who call them "cute" are only assisting their wicked agenda.

This is the only species on earth where, if I were to hear that it was extinct, would prompt me to pop a bottle of champagne. I don't know what part they play in the ecosystem, and I don't care. Whatever small subsequent damage would be well worth it.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:09 PM on August 1, 2006

I would now need to put the entire thing outside and sleep, defenseless, waiting for it to writhe out and exact vengeance by striking in the nighttime.

Bug vaccum? I think not.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:50 AM CST on August 1 [+] [!]

You need to write like this more often.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:13 PM on August 1, 2006

posted by jiroczech at 6:05 AM on August 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

jiroczech: yep, thats about the worst thing I've ever seen.

WTF is going there??
posted by rsanheim at 6:16 AM on August 3, 2006

wowie, dramatic and scary, jiroczech - thanks for the link!

I think those are gypsy moths. We had a horrific invasion of biblical plague proportions here in Massachusetts when I was a kid. There are mind boggling swarms of the beasts, and they cover everything with that creepy, gunky, spectral drapery. To get to your house from the car, you would walk on a carpet of them; if you walked under trees, they were so plentiful you could hear a low hum - that was them chewing en masse! They were so pervasive, people couldn't let their kids or pets out, and often had to hose down houses, sidewalks and cars to try to keep them from taking over. It was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and the ensuing defoliation was astounding. Of course, maybe it was our comeuppance because the perpetrator of the problem came from Medford, Mass.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:00 PM on August 3, 2006

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