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Photo: Terra Vermelha
In the rainforests of southern Brazil lurks the Lonomia caterpillar — nicknamed the “lazy clown” of the insect world.
Unfortunately, much like “The Joker” from the Batman series, there’s nothing funny about this caterpillar. Simply brushing your hand against the spiny barbs of these hard-to-spot creatures can result in massive internal hemorrhaging, renal failure, and hemolysis. In other words, touching it sucks — but touching several at once (as is common) equals certain death.
Worse, the caterpillar is considered “cryptic” and easily blends in with the bark of common trees. So even if you’re trying to look for it you may not even see it (or a group) until it’s too late.
Photo: Terra Vermelha
Unfortunately, there are several deaths each year attributed to the Lonomia. Even more stunning is that its venom is among the lowest “median lethal dose” toxins in the world — being only a minute fraction (less than 0.001) of that in a snake bite.
If there’s one bright spot, it’s that the Lonomia only appears for two-three months each year. What months, I couldn’t find — so just avoid touching any caterpillars while in Southern Brazil, ok?
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