6 Furry Moths You Could Easily Take for a Pet
Useless Fact: Never Touch Anything That Looks Like Donald Trump's Hair.
Acraga Coa Moths ("Jewel Moths")
Commonly misreferred to as Jewel moths, these exemplars have nothing to do with the true jewel moths (Eriocraniidae) that actually have gold on their wings. Rather, the Acraga Coa's caterpillar, popularly known as the Jewel caterpillar has caused this misconception.
Acraga Coa are from the Dalceridae family, found in southern Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama, obviously preferring a more tropical climate, so unless you like to live in damp hot conditions - this isn't your kind of pet. The Dalceridae family consists of at least 84 different species, all of their larvae sharing the gooey appearance so they're often called "slug caterpillars".
The amazing semi-translucent caterpillars actually don't have any defence mechanisms, except for their gooeyness. Ants, which usually devour caterpillars, become stuck in the larvae's jelly-like body. So it seems the species repel predators simply by being sticky and uncomfortable to attack. In this sense, "Jewel" caterpillar does seem fitting - look all you want, but don't touch.
Venezuelan Poodle Moth
The Venezuelan Poodle Moth – the hip new thing in the bug world. The little critter has now been compared to everything from a furby, gargoyle to a Pokemon character. But seriously, who wouldn't want to cuddle this sucker, am I right?
In 2009 the species of moths were discovered by Dr. Arthur Anker of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela. Not much is known about the insect - not even its family (Dr. Anker has suggested Artace sp, perhaps A. cribaria), except that it is found in Gran Sabana National Park in Venezuela and it is hella furry.
(the only photo of the Venezuelan Poodle Moth by Dr. Anker, 2009)
Rosy Maple Moth
Dryocampa rubicunda, or the Rosy Maple Moth is a species native to North America, their range extending to southern Canada - Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. As their name suggested, these colourful insects feed almost exclusively on maple trees.
The Rosy Maple moth is covered in a coat of dense fuzz which helps them pollinate flowers better. Their colouration vary, but what stay common between them is the bright colouration. Researchers are still pondering on the purpose of their coloration, some believing it warns off predators.
Generally nocturnal, these furry beauties prefer to fly throughout the first third of the night. It is then that the adult females emit pheromones and attract males, which have bushier antennae in order to detect the pheromones. The Rosy Maple moth adults don't eat. Their larvae, called Green-striped Mapleworms, can occasionally become pests in the garden. So even though they are strikingly beautiful, if you do decide to breed and have them as a pet, they might still pose as potential pest problem to be taken care of with a moth control treatment by professionals.
Velleda Lappet Moth, also known as the Large Tolype Moth, is a species of lappet moth that ranges from Nova Scotia to central Florida, west to Texas and north to Ontario. The adult fluffy insects are active from July to September. And by active I don't mean eating, because adults don't eat at all, they rather focus only on reproduction.
The Tolype moth larvae, also known as "tent caterpillars" are active from June to August, when they feed on the leave of broadleaf trees like apple, plum, cherry, apricot and etc. The caterpillars have their own astonishing specific - typically social, colourful, diurnal and hairy on the sides, these insects get their name from their ability to build silk tents in the branches of host trees. Which, of course, can either look very creepy or astonishing depending on your level of insect comfortability.
Pink-Striped Oakworm Moth
Known by entomologists and educated folks as Anisota virginiensis, also known as Pink-Striped Oakworm moth to differentiate it from the simple Oakworm moth. The Pink-Striped beauties are a species of silk moths from the family Saturniidae, found in North America to Canada inhabiting deciduous woodlands and suburbs.
Unlike other species, these moths mate in the morning. The males attract females by buzzing like a bee. Afterwards, it's a very wham-bam type of process, by which I mean rapid. The couple of moths stay together for the rest of the day until the female finds a proper place to lay the eggs - usually under oak leaves.
Sadly, these beautiful moths are occasionally considered a pest of forests, because their larvae defoliate trees. So if you intend to breed or keep one as pet, watch out for accidentally creating a moth infestation.
Megalopygidae, known to mortals as the Flannel Moths are one of the most interesting, amazing and talked about moth family made up from 11 known species. From caterpillars to hatching as moths, these insect look like tiny fur-balls, hence the nickname of their larvae "puss caterpillars".
However, if we look past their groovy exterior, the puss caterpillars are actually not the cute innocent little fur-balls they seem. Megalopygidae larvae are actually badasses that can cause a painful sting and inflammation which can last for several days, in some cases leading to headache, nausea and shock-like symptoms.
Perhaps the most notorious puss caterpillar is the Megalopyge opercularis, which is already known to all of the internet as the Trump caterpillar for being an extreme look-a-like of Donald Trump's hair. Its "hairs" are actually setae - long, fine silky appendages that can cause serious skin irritations. As with Donald Trump, if a person tries to grab it they will get a handful of venom.
This amazing creature, and yes it really is a living insect and not a walking toupee, coincidentally transforms into one of the furriest and prettiest moths in existence:
Of course this is just one of the many different stinging moth caterpillars in this astonishing family. Other species vary, some of them look like:
Thanks for reading!