The satiny White Flannel Moth looks soft to the touch, but its colorful caterpillar is a hands-off kind of critter.
Completely white in color, the sheen on the forewings of the White Flannel Moth can induce one to pet it. Some individuals may have yellow veins on the outer wing or near the body. A frilly, white thorax is covered in fine hairs that stick out in all directions. Antennae are wide, flat, and orange or flesh-colored in males. The eyes, face, and part of the underside are black, and the top of the body is white. The wings are usually held shut and have a curved angle at the bottom edge.
Hairs on the yellow, black, and red caterpillar sting, so it should not be handled. Yellow dots on the black 'back' of the caterpillar have centers made of short, white hairs. Yellow hairs stick out from the sides of the body, so there is no safe place to touch it. The colors are bright and naturally alarming to help minimize temptation. Locust, hackberry, and redbud trees are common hosts for this larva.
Scientific Name: Norape ovina
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 17mm (0.43in to 0.66in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.