Don’t Touch! Watch Out For This Colorado Caterpillar This Fall
Fall in Colorado means spending time outside, exploring the great beauty of our state. However, there are a few creepy-crawlies the kids (or kids-at-heart) might try to reach out for, but I'm warning you on this one— it'll hurt.
The Io Moth is a common Colorado 'Insect of Interest' firstly because of its fluffy green spines (see the photo below). However, fluffy these are not...in fact, if you try to touch them, you'll experience "a painful sting with contact", according to Colorado State's Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management division.
You'll need to watch out for not just the green prickly spines of the caterpillar, but the stinging hair of the larva before the caterpillar emerges from its cocoon. It seems like the moth (adult) version of this insect is the safest thing to touch but ew, why would you?
For more information, check out this Colorado Insect of Interest fact sheet and if you're in Northern Colorado, just stay away.