HomeNews & LifestyleMeet Lonomia Obliqua: AKA The Assassin Caterpillar

Meet Lonomia Obliqua: AKA The Assassin Caterpillar

Meet Lonomia Obliqua: AKA The Deadliest Caterpillar On The Planet

I always thought the worst a caterpillar could do was give you pink eye. Turns out, however:

a. That’s likely a myth


b. There’s a caterpillar that can actually kill you.

Lonomia Obliqua, also known as the Assassin Caterpillar, is one of the deadly poisonous caterpillars that can actually kill a human. In fact, it’s the deadliest caterpillar in the world. A few stings from this bug can cause deadly internal bleeding that can make your brain and organs shut down. And that’s not the worst of it!

Where Is This Deadly Caterpillar Found?

Lonomia Obliqua
Image: @factongue on Instagram

The Lonomia Obliqua is found in the rainforests of South America. The caterpillar is credited for up to 500 deaths throughout South America.

In fact, experts credit an outbreak of strange symptoms of internal bleeding in Rio Grande do Sul to the tiny creature. They found the main link to be the Lonomia Obliqua, because all of the patients worked in the rainforest. Accidental contact with the caterpillar was the only common denominator that could cause such damage!

You also have to look out for Lonomia Obliqua throughout Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil.

How Big Do They Get?

Lonomia Obliqua
Image: @cervejacriatura on Instagram

One of the strange things about the world’s deadliest caterpillar is that it’s super small in relation to the damage it can cause humans.

Measuring around two inches in total, the Assassin Caterpillar hides in the forest, blending in to trees with its pokey exterior. It’s usually green and brown in colour during its larval stage.

Its size, however, doesn’t mean much when you consider that the hollow hairs of the deadly caterpillar’s body can puncture the skin of a grown man and inject a flow of deadly venom.

Lonomia Obliqua
Image: @ilustr.heitor on Instagram

Their Venom Is Infamously Potent

Lonomia Obliqua
Image: @naturaleza_fyf on Instagram

The deadly toxin injected by this venomous caterpillar sits in sacks at the base of each of their spikes. The problem with this venom is that it contains powerful anti-clotting agents. These can sadly lead to widespread and severe internal bleeding.

Just when you thought “oh well, internal bleeding doesn’t sound that bad“, think again. This particular type of bleeding can spread to your organs and eventually the brain, causing a horrific death.

There is a slight upside, however. You’d likely need to be stung somewhere between 20 to 100 times for the venom to actually kill you. Still though. Wouldn’t want to be bumping into this little dude and upsetting it enough to make it wanna jab you with one of those spikes.

… And Then Comes A Giant Silkworm Moth. Great.  

Lonomia Obliqua
Image: @laurinha.braga on Instagram

The Assassin Caterpillar can kill a human, but so can its adult form, the Giant Silkworm Moth. These moths range in size from medium to very large.

The neat fact about this venomous flying critter is that it only lives a few weeks because it doesn’t have much of a mouthpart. Because of this, it can’t eat, so it dies. From an evolutionary standpoint, I’m not sure what happened there. Doesn’t sound very well thought-out. Anyways.

The moth isn’t considered as deadly as the caterpillar. The caterpillars tend to hang out in more high-traffic areas. Because of this, they are much more likely to come into contact with humans.

If you bump into either the moth or the caterpillar, chances are you won’t die of internal bleeding. However, you may suffer from mild discomfort. Unless you stick around to get stung repeatedly, you’ll likely be ok.

  • Speaking of creepy creatures… you won’t believe the video of this snake catching a bird with its tail that looks like a spider!!


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