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Fun Lonomia Obliqua Facts For Kids

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Are you interested in knowing about one of the most venomous caterpillars found in the world? If yes, then stay tuned and learn about the Lonomia obliqua caterpillar. This moth is also categorized under the Lepidoptera saturniidae group. This insect pupa lives in southern Brazil states. It thrives in a warm tropical climate on the indigenous plants present in the area. The L.obliqua caterpillar venom is quite toxic for human beings and for other animals. The bristle extract of this venomous caterpillar has helped us to learn more about its venom and toxicity. However, the extreme camouflaging ability of the Lonomia obliqua caterpillars helps them to stay hidden. Scientists have also shown interest in the prothrombin activator protease or lopap (69-kDa tetrameric protein) present in the bristle extract of the caterpillar's venom, as it can help to study protein cell involved in the coagulation of blood. Isn't this caterpillar extremely interesting? Keep reading to learn Lonomia obliqua facts. Also, check out our articles on the saddleback caterpillar and caterpillars.

Fun Lonomia Obliqua Facts For Kids


What do they prey on?

N/A

What do they eat?

Herbivore

Average litter size?

110-140 eggs

How much do they weigh?

N/A

How long are they?

Caterpillar - 1.7-2.1 in (4.5-5.5 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A


What do they look like?

Green to brown

Skin Type

Setae

What were their main threats?

N/a

What is their conservation status?

Not Listed

Where you'll find them?

Forests

Locations

Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay

Kingdom

Animalia

Genus

Lonomia

Class

Insecta

Family

Saturniidae

Lonomia Obliqua Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lonomia obliqua?

The Lonomia obliqua is a type of moth which is largely classified as the giant silkworm moth.

What class of animal does a lonomia obliqua belong to?

The Lonomia obliqua is part of the class Insecta, and it belongs to the family Saturniidae. The moth belongs to the Lepidoptera saturniidae group. Moreover, most caterpillars from the Lonomia genus are known for envenomation techniques of survival.

How many lonomia obliqua are there in the world?

It is quite hard to trace the L. obliqua because it has a small lifecycle. However, the extent of the caterpillar can often be traced through the number of cases of its venom victims.

Where does a lonomia obliqua live?

The Lonomia obliqua caterpillar is extant to South America. The caterpillar is especially common in the southern part of Brazil in places like São Paulo, Rio, Grande do Sul, and Santa Caterina. It can also be found in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina.

What is a lonomia obliqua's habitat?

Like other moths, the giant silkworm moth also lays its eggs on the leaves of plants. The L. obliqua mainly resides on the leaves of indigenous trees found in its natural habitat. The leaf-colored bristles of the caterpillar help it to camouflage with the plants. The L. obliqua venom is quite helpful for the host plants, as it prevents other animals from eating the leaves. Like moths, the Lonomia obliqua prefers warm tropical places where it can successfully breed.

Who do lonomia obliqua live with?

The Lonomia obliqua caterpillar lives with its siblings while it is in the larval stage. A single spot on a tree can have up to 20 caterpillars based on the egg-laying habit of the moth. As the L. obliqua venom is distasteful and dreadful, seldom does any animal or other predators come nearby. This gives the caterpillar the perfect setting to survive.

How long does a lonomia obliqua live?

The larval stage of the L. obliqua caterpillar lasts for 60 days. The insect has to go through six instars or stages to become an adult moth. The larva turns into a pupa and can stay in that form for 60-100 days, depending on the warmth of the environment. The life period of the species Lonomia moth is limited to 1.5-5.9 days for the males and 2.2-7.7 days for the female moths.

How do they reproduce?

As the pupa turns into an adult moth, the only goal for it is to reproduce. The adults, on average, live for just seven to eight days, so they need to act very quickly. After the moths of both sexes mate, the females lay about 110-140 eggs on the plant leaves. Lonomia caterpillars hatch after an incubation period of approximately 17 days. Initially, the eggs are green with a dark micropyle. As the eggs start to develop, they take a more translucent appearance. Like other caterpillars, the L. obliqua also goes through four life stages. The Lonomia obliqua caterpillar measures just 0.19 in when it is born.

What is their conservation status?

The Lonomia obliqua or the giant silkworm moth is yet to make it into any conservation lists meant for insects.

Lonomia Obliqua Fun Facts

What do lonomia obliqua look like?

When it comes to the L. obliqua, seldom do we think about the brown-colored moth. The whole focus is definitely on the Lonomia obliqua caterpillars for their potent envenomation. However, apart from that, it is also important to have a look at the body structures of the caterpillar. Its color can range anywhere from green to brown. After hatching, the larvae initially have a brown head. The most striking thing about this caterpillar has to be its bristles. The caterpillars have a Christmas tree-like look because of the several setae or hair-like structures present on the bristles. However, these hollow bristles are venomous structures, especially for humans.  The caterpillar Lonomia obliqua identification is quite hard because of its plant-like colors.

The larvae are enclosed in a chrysalis as it starts the step of metamorphosis towards being an adult moth. At its initial stage, the pupa is yellowish in color, but soon the shell turns into a reddish-brown color. The moths formed from the caterpillars of the species are quite insignificant. It lives for a short period of time, and a human will seldom come in close contact with it. However, the female moths are bigger than the male moth and have brown dorsal wings compared to the yellow wings present in the males.

Lonomia obliqua facts help to know about deadly caterpillars.

How cute are they?

Would you really call one of the deadliest caterpillars cute? We will certainly refrain from doing so!

How do they communicate?

Though we do not know much about the communication present in this species, caterpillars, in general, are known to communicate via vibrations. Moths on the other hand communicate with the help of scents.

How big is a lonomia obliqua?

The average size of Lonomia obliqua caterpillar is around 1.7-2.1 in (4.5-5.5 cm). While the moths measure somewhere around 2.3 in (6 cm). The L. obliqua caterpillar is smaller in size compared to the buck moth caterpillar that reaches an average size of 2-2.4 in.

How fast can a lonomia obliqua walk?

Seldom can we say that a caterpillar travels fast or walks fast. No exact data is found regarding the speed of the L. obliqua.

How much does a lonomia obliqua weigh?

The exact weight of the caterpillar, or the moth is yet to be known, but we can assume that it is quite lightweight.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female caterpillars.

What would you call a baby lonomia obliqua?

The baby Lonomia obliqua is known as a caterpillar or a larva when it first hatches.

What do they eat?

Even though not much is known about the specific diet of the L. obliqua caterpillar, we can safely assume that it feeds on the host plants without causing adverse damage to its leaves. The larvae stop eating for a few days before they turn into pupae. After metamorphosizing into a moth, the insect sustains itself on nectars for a short period of its life.

Are they harmful?

The Lonomia obliqua venom is quite potent, and it can drastically affect human beings and other animals. Soon after its envenomation, a person will start to feel an itching sensation, and the contact place will turn red. People generally complain of being a victim of its sting after sifting through dry leaves or when they came in contact with plants. Through the bristle extract of the Lonomia obliqua caterpillars, it has been noted that it transfer the venom with its hollow bristles.

After the human victims have come in contact with the venom, they can soon feel headaches, nausea and may even have bloody urine. Acute renal failure cases have also been caused by Lonomia obliqua in certain cases. Coagulation disorder and hemorrhagic syndrome might also be present with acute renal failure, and in 50% of cases, it ends up in death. By studying bristle extract, it has been noted that the venom produced by the caterpillar may contain protein involved in irregular coagulation of blood cells. The current reported death rate caused by Lonomia obliqua caterpillar is 2.5%. Contrary to popular beliefs, the moth of this species is actually non-venomous.

It's important to visit a doctor as soon as you come in contact with the caterpillar. It is usually treated with antifibrinolytics. The Butantan Institute, São Paulo, Brazil, has done extensive research on the bristle extract of the Lonomia obliqua caterpillars and developed an anti-serum.

Would they make a good pet?

Not really! The L. obliqua is not your friendly neighborhood caterpillar. Rather, it has one of the deadliest venoms and can easily attack humans with its protein cell.

Did you know...

In 1855, Francis Walker was the first one to pen down the Lonomia obliqua.

Most moths turn non-venomous after metamorphosis. Hence, the Lonomia group is still regarded as having some of the most venomous caterpillars that turn into moths.

Lonomia obliqua, the assassin caterpillar, turns into pupates and then moths within a time span of one to three months.

What is the deadliest caterpillar in the world?

The Lonomia obliqua is known as the deadliest caterpillar in the world because of its venom. The venom causes adverse reactions in humans. It has also managed to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

What is the rarest caterpillar?

The rosy marsh moth caterpillar is probably the rarest caterpillar.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our blister beetle interesting facts and leafcutter ant fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Lonomia Obliqua coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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