Urticating hairs and scales. A mystery bite cause?(3 posts)
David Cain validated that the hairs of the carpet beetle larvae can cause reactions in some people. While it doesn't appear that beetle larvae are classified as having urticating hairs it is a known arthropod defense mechanism and well known to tarantula owners.
The urticating hairs on a tarantula aren't hollow and loaded with toxins, as they sometimes are with other creatures that use urticating hairs for defence. The tarantula urticating hairs appear to irritate due to the structure of the hair itself; so it's a mechanical irritation rather than chemical defense.
Near the end of the same authors page he refers to reactions he has gotten from the urticating hairs of various species.
Caterpillars, of both moths and butterflies, are what we all are familiar with as possessing these "weapons" but some scales of moths as well. Carterpillar hairs lose their venom rapidly after the creatures death but the physical ability to cause reaction can remain due to the structure.
So where the heck am I going with this right? Not really sure but just a potential cause of skin reactions that I haven't seen mentioned here other than the carpet beetle phenomena.
Just a thought for those mystery bite victims to ponder. Do you have lots of moths in your area?
Entomologist please correct me if this idea is full of holes.
You guys look to be correct:
Thanks for the ID!
Gee. Now THAT was some subject header.
And the fly-fishing board? Brilliant.
(me? A rod n reel kinda gal.)
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