Poisonous American Dagger Caterpillar Found on Michigan College Campus

   10.09.19

An American Dagger caterpillar found on the campus of Mid Michigan Community College has residents in the area on the lookout, as officials warn the fuzzy yellow and green insect is poisonous.

After reports of the caterpillar being found on MMCC’s trails around campus, the Clare Area Chamber of Commerce sent out an alert about the American Dagger caterpillar and the potential dangers they posses.

“This American Dagger caterpillar (Acronicta americana) was spotted during a hike through the beautiful trails onĀ Mid Michigan College‘s campus. These cute caterpillars may seem harmless, but they are indeed poisonous.

DO NOT PICK THEM UP! Both children and adults can be affected by them. Symptoms include the following: stinging sensation followed by a burning, itching sensation on the skin which can develop into a rash.”

These poisonous caterpillars typically measure around 2 inches in length and sport four sets of black bristles along their backs. Insectidentification.org says these bristles resemble long eyelashes. A fifth set of bristles can be found on the insect’s rear end. When touched, the bristles will break off and embed into skin, injecting a toxin that causes a stinging, burning sensation which can lead to a rash.

The American Dagger can often be found munching on deciduous trees like ash, elm, maple, willow and oak.

However, if you do spot one, the recommendation is to look but don’t touch.

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