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White Flannel Moth (Norape ovina)

The white flannel moth is a member of the flannel moth family. The species name ovina means “of or like sheep” in Latin.

The caterpillar is not only poisonous, but also one of the most dangerous bugs in America. A sting from this insect can cause pain, blisters, and swelling and, even severe complications if left untreated.

Scientific Classification


  • Family: Megalopygidae
  • Genus: Norape
  • Scientific Name: Norape ovina

White Flannel Moth

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Description and Identification

Caterpillar

They are striped black and yellow, with yellow dots. There are yellow hairs on the side of its body and white hairs emerging from the dots.

White Flannel Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

They pupate inside a dark brown, hard cocoon below the surface of the soil.

White Flannel Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present.

The males have orange-colored, flat antennae, which are not present in the females.

Color and Appearance

When opened, the wings appear white and hairy. When closed, the color and pattern remains the same.

Besides the wings, they have an overall white body, with hairs from its thorax sticking out in all directions, giving it a frilly appearance. The underside of its body, including its eyes and face, is black.

Average wingspan: 27–33 mm

Flight pattern: Not recorded

Season:  April to May; July to October

Norape ovina

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Egg

The eggs are yellow and laid in linear groups.

White Flannel Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

DistributionUnited States ranging from Washington D.C., south to Florida, west of Montana, and Texas; Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Bolivia, Panama, and Suriname
HabitatOpen woodlands
PredatorsBirds
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsHackberry, redbud, beech, mimosa, and locust trees
Adult DietNot recorded

Did You Know

  • A 5-year-old in Texas was stung by one of these caterpillars while playing outside. Her teacher quickly used tape to remove the hairs, but she still had to be hospitalized for the pain and swelling.
White Flannel Moth Picture

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White Flannel Moth Image

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