A HARMLESS hickory horned devil caterpillar! (turns into a regal moth.) It has no stinger, does not bite people, is not poisonous, is not dirty, etc.
Hickory (from Powhatan) is a type of tree, comprising the genus Carya (Ancient Greek: "nut"). The genus includes 17–19 species of deciduous trees with pinnately compound leaves and big nuts. Five or six species are native to China, Indochina, and India (State of Assam), 11 or 12 are from the United States, two to four are from Canada and four are found in Mexico. Hickory flowers are small, yellow-green catkins produced in spring. They are wind-pollinated and self-incompatible. The fruit is a globose or oval nut, 2–5 cm (0.79–2.0 in) long and 1.5–3 cm (0.59–1.2 in) diameter, enclosed in a four-valved husk, which splits open at maturity. The nut shell is thick and bony in most species, and thin in a few, notably C. illinoinensis; it is divided into two halves, which split apart when the seed germinates.
Beaked hickory (Annamocarya sinensis) is a species formerly classified as Carya sinensis, but now adjudged in the monotypic genus Annamocarya.
In the APG system, genus Carya (and the whole Juglandaceae family) has been recently moved to the Fagales order.
Hickory is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species. These include:
The hickory leaf stem gall phylloxera (Phylloxera caryaecaulis) also uses the hickory tree as a food source. Phylloxeridae are related to aphids and have a similarly complex life cycle. Eggs hatch in early spring and the galls quickly form around the developing insects. Phylloxera galls may damage weakened or stressed hickories, but are generally harmless. Deformed leaves and twigs can rain down from the tree in the spring as squirrels break off infected tissue and eat the galls, possibly for the protein content or because the galls are fleshy and tasty to the squirrels.
The banded hickory borer (Knulliana cincta) is also found on hickories.
Some fruits are borderline and difficult to categorize. Hickory nuts (Carya) and walnuts (Juglans) in the Juglandaceae family grow within an outer husk; these fruits are sometimes considered to be drupes or drupaceous nuts, rather than true botanical nuts. "Tryma" is a specialized term for such nut-like drupes.
Hickory wood is very hard, stiff, dense and shock resistant. There are woods that are stronger than hickory and woods that are harder, but the combination of strength, toughness, hardness, and stiffness found in hickory wood is not found in any other commercial wood. It is used for tool handles, bows, wheel spokes, carts, drumsticks, lacrosse stick handles, golf club shafts (sometimes still called hickory stick, even though made of steel or graphite), the bottom of skis, walking sticks and for punitive use as a switch (like hazel), and especially as a cane-like hickory stick in schools and use by parents. Paddles are often made from hickory. This property of hickory wood has left a trace in some Native American languages: in Ojibwe, hickory is called "mitigwaabaak", a compound of mitigwaab "bow" and the final -aakw "hardwood tree"
Baseball bats were formerly made of hickory, but are now more commonly made of ash. Hickory is replacing ash as the wood of choice for Scottish shinty sticks (also known as camans). Hickory was extensively used for the construction of early aircraft.
Hickory is also highly prized for wood-burning stoves, because of its high energy content. Hickory wood is also a preferred type for smoking cured meats. In the Southern United States, hickory is popular for cooking barbecue, as hickory grows abundantly in the region, and adds flavor to the meat. Hickory is sometimes used for wood flooring due to its durability and character.
A bark extract from shagbark hickory is also used in an edible syrup similar to maple syrup, with a slightly bitter, smoky taste.
The nuts of some species are palatable, while others are bitter and only suitable for animal feed. Shagbark and shellbark hickory, along with pecan, are regarded by some as the finest nut trees.
When cultivated for their nuts, clonal (grafted) trees of the same cultivar cannot pollinate each other because of their self-incompatibility. Two or more cultivars must be planted together for successful pollination. Seedlings (grown from hickory nuts) will usually have sufficient genetic variation.
Philips, Roger. Trees of North America and Europe, Random House, Inc., New York ISBN 0-394-50259-0, 1979.
The regal moth (Citheronia regalis), also called the royal walnut moth, is a North American moth in the saturniidae family. The caterpillars are called hickory horned devils. The adult (Imago) has a wingspan of 3.75-6.1 in (9.5-15.5 cm).
Citheronia regalis The adult moth is the largest moth by mass in latitudes north of Mexico][, as are the spectacular larva and the substantial pupa.
The life cycle of the moth is typical of the Saturniidae species, and typical of the Ceratocampinae. It burrows into the ground to pupate in an earthen chamber, rather than spinning a cocoon.
Yellowish eggs, oval and 2 mm in diameter, are laid either singly or in groups of up to four on the upper surface of the host plant leaves, favoring nut trees such as Juglans and Carya (walnuts and hickories). There are regional preferences, with the utilization of sweet gum and persimmon in the south, and sumacs where the others are not available. Larvae are solitary in later stages and rarely occur in numbers large enough to cause defoliation, however an individual larva can strip several branches of their leaves during the ravenous 5th instar.
The general list of recorded hosts contains hickories (Carya glabra, Carya illinoensis, Carya ovata), Buttonbush, Filbert, Bush honeysuckle, Persimmon, Ash, Cotton, Butternut, Black walnut, English walnut, Sweetgum and Privet among others.
When the eggs hatch 7–10 days later, small yellow larvae that darken rapidly emerge. The caterpillars are solitary nighttime feeders in early stages, when they curl up in a "j" shaped pattern during the day and resemble two-toned bird droppings.
As the caterpillars age, they feed during the day. They molt 5 times. Each instar is different, but on their sixth and final instar they become a bright green color, with huge, black-tipped red horns, earning them their common name "hickory horned devils". They feed heavily on their host plant and can grow up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long. Their scary appearance is purely a ruse; the spines, though prickly, do not sting, and the larva is harmless and actually one of the more easily handled of the saturniidae.
Just before pupation, the larva expels its gut and changes color from Frankenstein-green to a more fetching turquoise, the skin of the fully fed creature stretched shiny and tight. They then crawl down the host plant, where they burrow into the dirt and pupate in a well formed chamber at a depth of five to six inches. The pupae are dark brown/black in color, and have a relatively short cremaster. Some pupae overwinter for 2 seasons, perhaps as an adaption to variable and adverse conditions such as fires and flooding, or to maintain genetic diversity across generations.
When the moths eclose, they have to pump their wings with fluid (hemolymph) to extend them. The females emit pheromones, which the male can detect through its large, plumose antennae. Males can fly for miles in order to reach a female. After the moths mate, the female spends the majority of the remainder of her life laying eggs, while the male may mate several more times. Adults of this family of moths have vestigal mouths, meaning their mouthparts have been reduced. Because of this, they do not eat and only live for about a week as adults.
There is a single generation of Citheronia regalis throughout its range, but in the deep south, moths have been recorded throughout the longer growing season. Typically, Citheronia regalis is a midsummer moth, on the wing from late June through August. There is a distinct bell curve to the emergence, with peak-weeks coinciding with the first spell of the humid summer weather which may synchronize emergences.
Citheronia regalis is considered a common species in the Deep South, becoming rarer and more sporadic northward. Historically recorded throughout New England, the species suffered a decline in the Atlantic Northeast during the mid-20th century. This may be related to DDT spraying, the use of Bt to combat gypsy moth infestation, and the deployment of the non-native Compsilura fly as a bio-control agent backfiring in producing declines of saturniid species.
Excluding sparse contemporary records from New York, Citheronia regalis achieves range stability in the mid Atlantic states and southern Appalachia, beginning from southern New Jersey west throughout the Ohio Valley, the edge of the Great Plains states and south to East Texas.
Final instar before pupating
Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the order Lepidoptera (the insect order comprising butterflies and moths). They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture. Many moth species are better known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce.
The etymological origins of the word are from the early 16th century, from Middle English catirpel, catirpeller, probably an alteration of Old North French catepelose: cate, cat (from Latin cattus) + pelose, hairy (from Latin pilōsus).
The geometrids, also known as inchworms or loopers, are so named because of the way they move, appearing to measure the earth (the word geometrid means earth-measurer in Greek); the primary reason for this unusual locomotion is the elimination of nearly all the prolegs except the clasper on the terminal segment.
Caterpillars have soft bodies that can grow rapidly between moults. Only the head capsule is hardened. The mandibles are tough and sharp for chewing leaves (this contrasts with most adult Lepidoptera, which have highly reduced or soft mandibles). Behind the mandibles of the caterpillar are the spinnerets, for manipulating silk.
Some larvae of the Hymenoptera order (ants, bees and wasps) can appear like the caterpillars of the lepidoptera. Such larvae are mainly seen in the sawfly family. However while these larvae superficially resemble caterpillars, they can be distinguished by the presence of prolegs on every abdominal segment, an absence of crochets or hooks on the prolegs (these are present on lepidopteran caterpillars), prominent ocelli on the head capsule, and an absence of the upside-down Y-shaped suture on the front of the head.
Caterpillars can be confused with the larvae of sawflies (see image on right). Lepidopteran larvae can be differentiated by:
Many animals feed on caterpillars as they are rich in protein. As a result caterpillars have evolved various means of defense. The appearance of a caterpillar can often repel a predator: its markings and certain body parts can make it seem poisonous, or bigger in size and thus threatening, or non-edible. Some types of caterpillars are indeed poisonous.
Caterpillars have evolved defenses against physical conditions such as cold, hot or dry environmental conditions. Some Arctic species like Gynaephora groenlandica have special basking and aggregation behaviours apart from physiological adaptations to remain in a dormant state.
Many caterpillars are cryptically colored and resemble the plants on which they feed. They may even have parts that mimic plant parts such as thorns. Their size varies from as little as 1 mm to about 75 millimetres (3.0 in). Some look like objects in the environment such as bird droppings. Many feed enclosed inside silk galleries, rolled leaves or by mining between the leaf surfaces. Caterpillars of Nemoria arizonaria that grow in spring feed on oak catkins and appear green. The summer brood appear like oak twigs. The differential development is linked to the tannin content in the diet.
More aggressive self-defense measures are taken by some caterpillars. These measures include having spiny bristles or long fine hair-like setae with detachable tips that will irritate by lodging in the skin or mucous membranes. However some birds (such as cuckoos) will swallow even the hairiest of caterpillars. The most aggressive caterpillar defenses are bristles associated with venom glands. These bristles are called urticating hairs. A venom which is among the most potent defensive chemicals in any animal is produced by the South American silk moth genus Lonomia. Its venom is an anticoagulant powerful enough to cause a human to hemorrhage to death (See Lonomiasis). This chemical is being investigated for potential medical applications. Most urticating hairs range in effect from mild irritation to dermatitis.
Plants contain toxins which protect them from herbivores, but some caterpillars have evolved countermeasures which enable them to eat the leaves of such toxic plants. In addition to being unaffected by the poison, the caterpillars sequester it in their body, making them highly toxic to predators. The chemicals are also carried on into the adult stages. These toxic species, such as the Cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae) and monarch (Danaus plexippus) caterpillars, usually advertise themselves with the danger colors of red, yellow and black, often in bright stripes (see aposematism). Any predator that attempts to eat a caterpillar with an aggressive defense mechanism will learn and avoid future attempts.
Some caterpillars regurgitate acidic digestive juices at attacking enemies. Many papilionid larvae produce bad smells from extrudable glands called osmeteria.
Some caterpillars have long "whip-like" organs attached to the ends of their body. The caterpillar wiggles these organs to frighten away flies. Some caterpillars can evade predators by using a silk line and dropping off from branches when disturbed. Many species thrash about violently when disturbed to scare away potential predators. One species (Amorpha juglandis) even makes high pitched whistles that can scare away birds.
Some caterpillars obtain protection by associating themselves with ants. The Lycaenid butterflies are particularly well known for this. They communicate with their ant protectors by vibrations as well as chemical means and typically provide food rewards.
Some caterpillars are gregarious; large aggregations are believed to help in reducing the levels of parasitization and predation. Clusters amplify the signal of aposematic coloration, and individuals may participate in group regurgitation or displays.
The caterpillar suffers predation from a number of species. The European pied flycatcher is one species that preys upon caterpillars. The flycatcher typically finds caterpillars amongst oak foliage.
Caterpillars have been called "eating machines", and eat leaves voraciously. Most species shed their skin four or five times as their bodies grow, and they eventually pupate into an adult form. Caterpillars grow very quickly; for instance, a tobacco hornworm will increase its weight ten-thousandfold in less than twenty days. An adaptation that enables them to eat so much is a mechanism in a specialized midgut that quickly transports ions to the lumen (midgut cavity), to keep the potassium level higher in the midgut cavity than in the blood.
Most caterpillars are solely herbivorous. Many are restricted to one species of plant, while others are polyphagous. A few, including the clothes moth, feed on detritus. Most predatory caterpillars feed on eggs of other insects, aphids, scale insects, or ant larvae. Some are predatory, and others prey on caterpillars of other species (e.g. Hawai'ian Eupithecia). A few are parasitic on cicadas or leaf hoppers. Some Hawai'ian caterpillars (Hyposmocoma molluscivora) use silk traps to capture snails.
Many caterpillars are nocturnal. For example, the "cutworms" (of the Noctuidae family) hide at the base of plants during the day and only feed at night. Others, such as gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) larvae, change their activity patterns depending on density and larval stage, with more diurnal feeding in early instars and high densities.
Caterpillars cause much damage, mainly by eating leaves. The propensity for damage is enhanced by monocultural farming practices, especially where the caterpillar is specifically adapted to the host plant under cultivation. The cotton bollworm causes enormous losses. Other species eat food crops. Caterpillars have been the target of pest control through the use of pesticides, biological control and agronomic practices. Many species have become resistant to pesticides. Bacterial toxins such as those from Bacillus thuringiensis which are evolved to affect the gut of Lepidoptera have been used in sprays of bacterial spores, toxin extracts and also by incorporating genes to produce them within the host plants. These approaches are defeated over time by the evolution of resistance mechanisms in the insects.
Plants evolve mechanisms of resistance to being eaten by caterpillars, including the evolution of chemical toxins and physical barriers such as hairs. Incorporating host plant resistance (HPR) through plant breeding is another approach used in reducing the impact of caterpillars on crop plants.
Some caterpillars are used in industry. The silk industry is based on the silkworm caterpillar.
Caterpillar hair can be a cause of human health problems. Caterpillar hairs sometimes have venoms in them and species from approximately 12 families of moths or butterflies worldwide can inflict serious human injuries ranging from urticarial dermatitis and atopic asthma to osteochondritis, consumption coagulopathy, renal failure, and intracerebral hemorrhage. Skin rashes are the most common, but there have been fatalities. Lonomia is a frequent cause of envenomation in Brazil, with 354 cases reported between 1989 and 2005. Lethality ranging up to 20% with death caused most often by intracranial hemorrhage.
Caterpillar hairs have also been known to cause kerato-conjunctivitis. The sharp barbs on the end of caterpillar hairs can get lodged in soft tissues and mucus membranes such as the eyes. Once they enter such tissues, they can be difficult to extract, often exacerbating the problem as they migrate across the membrane.
This becomes a particular problem in an indoor setting. The hairs easily enter buildings through ventilation systems and accumulate in indoor environments because of their small size, which makes it difficult for them to be vented out. This accumulation increases the risk of human contact in indoor environments.
Earthwatch Institute is a global non-profit that teams volunteers with scientists to conduct important environmental research. They have multiple research programs called "Climate Change and Caterpillars" geared to understanding how they protect themselves and respond to changes in their habitats. Research expeditions are located in Quito, Ecuador, Tucson, Arizona and San Jose, Costa Rica. In each expedition, volunteers conduct research such as finding and collecting caterpillars and their host plants, and helping to raise caterpillars at all stages of their life cycles and record their relationships with plants and parasites.
Caterpillars have been used symbolically in media to symbolize characters' positioning at or reluctance to progress past an early stage of development (e.g., in the season 3Mad Men episode, "The Fog", in which Betty Draper has a drug-induced dream, while in labor, that she captures a caterpillar and holds it firmly in her hand) or in combination with butterflies to show their maturation (e.g., in season 5The Sopranos episode, "The Test Dream", in which Tony Soprano dreams that Ralph Cifaretto has a caterpillar on his bald head, that changes into a butterfly).
Caterpillar of the Spurge Hawk-moth, near Binn, Valais, Switzerland at ca. 2 km altitude.
Caterpillar of the Emperor Gum Moth.
A poplar hawk-moth caterpillar (a common species of caterpillar in the UK).
Ant tending a lycaenid caterpillar.
Life cycle of the red-humped caterpillar (Schizura concinna ).
Forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria)
Camouflage: apparently with eight eyes, only two of them are real. Photo in a eucalyptus tree, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Caterpillar of the Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus), Virginia, USA
Caterpillars hatching on an apple tree in Victoria, BC, Canada
Urticating bristles, i.e. irritating bristles, are one of the primary defense mechanisms used by numerous plants, some New World tarantulas, and various lepidopteran caterpillars. Urtica is Latin for "nettle", and bristles that urticate are characteristic of this type of plant, and many other plants in several families. This term also refers to certain types of barbed bristles that cover the dorsal and posterior surface of a tarantula's or caterpillar's abdomen. Many tarantula species eject bristles from their abdomens, directing them toward potential attackers. These bristles can embed themselves in the other animal's skin or eyes, causing physical irritation.
The most common form of urticating bristles in plants are typified by nettles, which possess sharp-pointed hollow bristles seated on a gland which secretes an acrid fluid. The points of these bristles usually break off in the wound, and the acrid fluid is pressed into it. Various plants unrelated to nettles possess similar defensive bristles, and the common names often reflect this (e.g., "bull nettle").
There are species with urticating bristles in at least eleven Lepidopteran families: the Arctiidae (tiger moths), Anthelidae (lappet moths), Bombycidae, Eupterotidae (bag shelter moths), Lasiocampidae, Limacodidae, Lymantriidae (tussock moths), Megalopygidae, Noctuidae, Notodontidae (processionary caterpillars), Nymphalidae, and Saturniidae (Matheson 1950, Riley and Johannsen 1938, Roth and Eisner 1962, Wirtz 1984). Some adults may also have urticating scales.
Urticating hairs do not appear at birth but form with each consecutive molt, outwardly presenting themselves around areas of more dark hairs on the upper back part of the abdomen of juveniles, widening from molt to molt, but in elder ages merging with the main tone of abdominal coloration. Urticating bristles do not cover the entire opisthosoma and are distinct from abdominal hairs.
There are six different types of urticating bristle known in tarantulas (M. Overton, 2002). They are all different in shape and size.
Each type of urticating bristle is believed to target different enemies. Defined targets for some bristle types are unknown.
Type II is usually not kicked off by the tarantula, rather delivered by direct contact. However, there is at least one aviculariine species - Avicularia versicolor - which can kick type II urticating bristles off of the abdomen, similarly to species from the subfamily Theraphosinae. Tarantulas from the genera Avicularia, Pachistopelma and Iridopelma possess Type II bristles. (Toni Hoover, 1997)
Type III urticating bristles are most efficient for defense against vertebrates and invertebrates.
Types III and IV are the most irritating to mammalian predators.
Not all urticating hair types are exhibited by each species of tarantula.
Type II urticating bristles can be found in the genera Avicularia, Iridopelma and Pachistopelma (subfamily Aviculariinae).
Type I and III urticating bristles are representative on Lasiodora and Acanthoscurria, excluding Grammostola (exhibits types III and IV).
Type III urticating bristle is typically found on the species of Theraphosa spp., Nhandu spp., Megaphoboema spp., Sericopelma spp., Eupalaestrus spp., Proshapalopus spp., Brachypelma spp., Cyrtopholis spp., Iracema spp. and other genera of subfamily Theraphosinae (Rick West, 2002).
Type V urticating bristle is typical of the species of genus Ephebopus. They are located on the pedipalps. They are much shorter and lighter in contrast with other types of urticating bristle. These are easily thrown by the spider into the air (Marshal and Uetz, 1990).
Type VI urticating bristle is found in the genus Hemirrhagus (F. Perez-Miles, 1998).
According to Vellard (1936) and Buecherl (1951), genera with the most urticating bristles are Lasiodora, Grammostola and Acanthoscurria.
New World tarantulas will at the moment of danger, turn toward the attacker and briskly rub their hind legs against the opisthosoma throwing the urticating bristles in the direction of the enemy. The cloud of small bristles will get into the mucous membrane of small mammals and cause edema, which can be fatal. The latest studies][ suggest these bristles cause both mechanical and chemical harm to the skin and membranes.
Reaction and the degree of irritation to a defensive urticating bristle barrage can vary tremendously, based on the species in question. Some, such as those of the Chilean rose tarantula (Grammastola rosea) and the pink toe tarantula (Avicularia avicularia), are fairly mild and innocuous to humans. Others, such as those of the Brazilian giant white knee tarantula (Acanthoscurria geniculata), are moderately irritating. Still others, such as the Goliath Birdeater (Theraphosa blondi), are far more severe. These bristles can result in painful rashes, and have been likened to sharp shards of fiberglass.
After kicking urticating bristles, the Tarantula will have a bald spot on its abdominal region.
Urticating bristles are not just thrown at an enemy as a first line defense, but is also used as an indication of territory. It can be found on and around the burrow entrance and in webbing for protection (for example, some of Theraphosinae subfamily species include these hairs in cocoon silk).
Urticating bristles can also be found protecting tarantula egg sacs (Avicularia spp. and Theraphosa blondi respectively). This is thought to discourage fly larvae from consuming their eggs and young.
In humans a defensive cloud of urticating hairs can cause allergic skin reactions which can manifest as inflammation, rash and/or itching. The reactions can last for several hours or days. A chemical influence upon the skin and mucous membranes explains the different reactions of people to urticating hairs (Rick West, 2002).
It seems likely the hairs cause an accumulative reaction in people.
A solution of 2 to 2.5% hydrocortisone cream applied to the affected area may help relieve the symptoms.
A more serious consequence is urticating hair in the eyes. Ophthalmia nodosa, an irritation reaction, can result when the barbed hairs lodge in the cornea. In this case it is necessary to immediately wash the eye thoroughly with copious amounts of cold water and see an ophthalmologist. Handlers are advised to wear eye protection.
In the context of biology, poisons are substances that cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism. The fields of medicine (particularly veterinary) and zoology often distinguish a poison from a toxin, and from a venom. Toxins are poisons produced by some biological function in nature, and venoms are usually defined as toxins that are injected by a bite or sting to cause their effect, while other poisons are generally defined as substances absorbed through epithelial linings such as the skin or gut.
Some poisons are also toxins, usually referring to naturally produced substances, such as the bacterial proteins that cause tetanus and botulism. A distinction between the two terms is not always observed, even among scientists.
Animal poisons that are delivered subcutaneously (e.g. by sting or bite) are also called venom. In normal usage, a poisonous organism is one that is harmful to consume, but a venomous organism uses poison (venom) to kill its prey or defend itself while still alive. A single organism can be both poisonous and venomous.
The derivative forms "toxic" and "poisonous" are synonymous.
In nuclear physics, a poison is a substance that obstructs or inhibits a nuclear reaction. For an example, see nuclear poison.
The term "poison" is often used colloquially to describe any harmful substance, particularly corrosive substances, carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens and harmful pollutants, and to exaggerate the dangers of chemicals. Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, once wrote: "Everything is poison, there is poison in everything. Only the dose makes a thing not a poison." (see Median lethal dose) The legal definition of "poison" is stricter. A medical condition of poisoning can also be caused by substances that are not legally required to carry the label "poison".
Environmentally hazardous substances are not necessarily poisons and vice versa. For example, food industry wastewater—which may contain potato juice or milk—can be hazardous to the ecosystems of streams and rivers by consuming oxygen and causing eutrophication, but is nonhazardous to humans and not classified as a poison.
The term poison with regard to biology and chemistry is often misused due to lack of a universal definition. Biologically speaking, any substance, if given in large enough amounts, is poisonous and can cause death. For instance, while botulinum toxin is lethal on the level of nanograms, a person would have to ingest kilograms worth of water to receive a lethal dose. While there may be a large disparity in this example, there are many substances used as medications where the LD50 is only one order of magnitude greater than the ED50 such as fentanyl. A better definition would distinguish between lethal substances that provide a therapeutic value and those that do not. The lack of a mathematical definition for the term poison impedes a universal definition.
Acute poisoning is exposure to a poison on one occasion or during a short period of time. Symptoms develop in close relation to the exposure. Absorption of a poison is necessary for systemic poisoning. In contrast, substances that destroy tissue but do not absorb, such as lye, are classified as corrosives rather than poisons. Furthermore, many common household medications are not labeled with skull and crossbones, although they can cause severe illness or even death. In the medical sense, poisoning can be caused by less dangerous substances than those receiving the legal classification of "poison".
Chronic poisoning is long-term repeated or continuous exposure to a poison where symptoms do not occur immediately or after each exposure. The patient gradually becomes ill, or becomes ill after a long latent period. Chronic poisoning most commonly occurs following exposure to poisons that bioaccumulate, or are biomagnified, such as mercury and lead.
Contact or absorption of poisons can cause rapid death or impairment. Agents that act on the nervous system can paralyze in seconds or less, and include both biologically derived neurotoxins and so-called nerve gases, which may be synthesized for warfare or industry.
Inhaled or ingested cyanide, used as a method of execution in gas chambers, almost instantly starves the body of energy by inhibiting the enzymes in mitochondria that make ATP. Intravenous injection of an unnaturally high concentration of potassium chloride, such as in the execution of prisoners in parts of the United States, quickly stops the heart by eliminating the cell potential necessary for muscle contraction.
Most biocides, including pesticides, are created to act as poisons to target organisms, although acute or less observable chronic poisoning can also occur in non-target organism, including the humans who apply the biocides and other beneficial organisms. For example, the herbicide 2,4-D imitates the action of a plant hormone, to the effect that the lethal toxicity is specific to plants. Indeed, 2,4-D is not a poison, but classified as "harmful" (EU).
Many substances regarded as poisons are toxic only indirectly, by toxication. An example is "wood alcohol" or methanol, which is not poisonous itself, but is chemically converted to toxic formaldehyde and formic acid in the liver. Many drug molecules are made toxic in the liver, and the genetic variability of certain liver enzymes makes the toxicity of many compounds differ between individuals.
Toxicology is the study of the symptoms, mechanisms, treatment and diagnosis of biological poisoning.
Exposure to radioactive substances can produce radiation poisoning, an unrelated phenomenon.
Some poisons have specific antidotes:
In 2010, poisoning resulted in about 180,000 deaths down from 200,000 in 1990. There were approximately 727,500 emergency department visits in the United States involving poisonings-- 3.3% of all injury-related encounters.
Throughout human history, intentional application of poison has been used as a method of murder, pest-control,suicide, and execution. As a method of execution, poison has been ingested, as the ancient Athenians did (see Socrates), inhaled, as with carbon monoxide or hydrogen cyanide (see gas chamber), or injected (seelethal injection). Many languages describe lethal injection with their corresponding words for "poison shot"][. Poison's lethal effect can be combined with its allegedly magical powers; an example is the Chinese poisongu. Poison was also employed in gunpowder warfare. For example, the 14th-century Chinese text of the Huolongjing written by Jiao Yu outlined the use of a poisonous gunpowder mixture to fill cast iron grenade bombs.
gen / txn
gen / txn
A moth is an insect related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Most of this order are moths; there are thought to be approximately 160,000 species of moth (nearly ten times the number of species of butterfly), with thousands of species yet to be described. Most species of moth are nocturnal, but there are crepuscular and diurnal species.
Moths are not easily differentiated from butterflies. Sometimes the name "Heterocera" is used for moths while the term "Rhopalocera" is used for butterflies to formalize the popular distinction; these, however, have no taxonomic validity. Many attempts have been made to subdivide the Lepidoptera into groups such as the Microlepidoptera and Macrolepidoptera, Frenatae and Jugatae, or Monotrysia and Ditrysia. Failure of these names to persist in modern classifications is because none of them represents a pair of monophyletic groups. Butterflies can be classified within the "moths" (being considered as part of Ditrysia of the Neolepidoptera). There is thus no way to group all of the remaining taxa in a monophyletic group, as it will always exclude that one descendant lineage.
The Modern English word "moth" comes from Old English "moððe" (cf. Northumbrian "mohðe") from Common Germanic (compare Old Norse "motti", Dutch "mot" and German "Motte" all meaning "moth"). Perhaps its origins are related to the Old English "maða" meaning "maggot" or from the root of "midge" which until the 16th century was used mostly to indicate the larva, usually in reference to devouring clothes.
The study of butterflies and moths is known as lepidoptery, and biologists that specialize in either are called lepidopterists. As a pastime, watching butterflies and moths is known as butterflying and mothing. The latter has given rise to the term "mother" for someone who engages in this activity - sometimes written with a hyphen (moth-er) to distinguish it from the more common word of the same spelling. This confusion does not arise in speech as it is pronounced differently (, not *).
Moth larvae, or caterpillars, make cocoons from which they emerge as fully grown moths with wings. Some moth caterpillars dig holes in the ground, where they live until they are ready to turn into adult moths.
Moths, and particularly their caterpillars, are a major agricultural pest in many parts of the world. Examples include corn borers and bollworms. The caterpillar of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) causes severe damage to forests in the northeast United States, where it is an invasive species. In temperate climates, the codling moth causes extensive damage, especially to fruit farms. In tropical and subtropical climates, the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) is perhaps the most serious pest of brassicaceous crops.
Several moths in the family Tineidae are commonly regarded as pests because their larvae eat fabric such as clothes and blankets made from natural proteinaceous fibers such as wool or silk. They are less likely to eat mixed materials containing artificial fibers. There are some reports that they can be repelled by the scent of wood from juniper and cedar, by lavender, or by other natural oils. However, many consider this unlikely to prevent infestation. Naphthalene (the chemical used in mothballs) is considered more effective, but there are concerns over its effects on human health. Moth larvae may be killed by freezing the items which they infest for several days at a temperature below .
Some moths are farmed. The most notable of these is the silkworm, the larva of the domesticated moth Bombyx mori. It is farmed for the silk with which it builds its cocoon. As of 2002[update], the silk industry produces over 130 million kilograms of raw silk, worth about 250 million U.S. dollars, each year. Not all silk is produced by Bombyx mori. There are several species of Saturniidae that are also farmed for their silk, such as the Ailanthus moth (Samia cynthia group of species), the Chinese Oak Silkmoth (Antheraea pernyi), the Assam Silkmoth (Antheraea assamensis), and the Japanese Silk Moth (Antheraea yamamai).
The mopane worm, the caterpillar of Gonimbrasia belina, from the family Saturniidae, is a significant food resource in southern Africa. Despite being notorious for eating clothing, most moth adults do not eat at all. Most like the Luna, Polyphemus, Atlas, Prometheus, Cecropia, and other large moths do not have mouths. When they do eat, moths will drink nectar.
Nocturnal insectivores often feed on moths; these include some bats, some species of owls and other species of birds. Moths are also eaten by some species of lizards, cats, dogs, rodents, and some bears. Moth larvae are vulnerable to being parasitized by Ichneumonidae.
Baculoviruses are parasite double-stranded DNA insect viruses that are used mostly as biological control agents. They are members of the Baculoviridae, a family that is restricted to insects. Most baculovirus isolates have been obtained from insects, in particular from Lepidoptera.
There is evidence that ultrasound in the range emitted by bats causes flying moths to make evasive maneuvers because bats eat moths. Ultrasonic frequencies trigger a reflex action in the noctuid moth that cause it to drop a few inches in its flight to evade attack. Tiger moths also emit clicks which foil bats' echolocation.
Moths frequently appear to circle artificial lights, although the reason for this behavior remains unknown. One hypothesis to explain this behavior is that moths use a technique of celestial navigation called transverse orientation. By maintaining a constant angular relationship to a bright celestial light, such as the Moon, they can fly in a straight line. Celestial objects are so far away, that even after travelling great distances, the change in angle between the moth and the light source is negligible; further, the moon will always be in the upper part of the visual field or on the horizon. When a moth encounters a much closer artificial light and uses it for navigation, the angle changes noticeably after only a short distance, in addition to being often below the horizon. The moth instinctively attempts to correct by turning toward the light, causing airborne moths to come plummeting downwards, and resulting in a spiral flight path that gets closer and closer to the light source.
Venom is the general term referring to any variety of toxins used by certain types of animals that inject it into their victims by the means of a bite, sting or other sharp body feature. Unlike poison, which is ingested or inhaled, venom is usually delivered directly into the lymphatic system, where it acts faster.
The potency of different venoms varies; lethal venoms are often characterised by the median lethal dose (LD50, LD50, or LD-50), expressed in terms of mass fraction (e.g., milligrams of toxin per kilogram of body mass), that will kill 50% of victims of a specified type (e.g., laboratory mice).
Venomous invertebrates include spiders, which use fangs - part of their chelicerae - to inject venom (see spider bite); and centipedes, which use forcipules - modified legs - to deliver venom; along with scorpions and stinging insects, which inject venom with a sting. In insects such as bees and wasps the stinger is a modified egg-laying device – the ovipositor. Many caterpillars have defensive venom glands associated with specialized bristles on the body, known as urticating hairs, which can be lethal to humans (e.g., that of the Lonomia moth), although the venom's strength varies depending on the species.
Because they are tasked to defend their hives and food stores, bees synthesize and employ an acidic venom (apitoxin) to cause pain in those that they sting, whereas wasps use a chemically different venom designed to paralyze prey, so it can be stored alive in the food chambers of their young. The use of venom is much more widespread than just these examples. Other insects, such as true bugs and many ants also produce venom. At least one ant species (Polyrhachis dives) has been shown to use venom topically for the sterilisation of pathogens.
There are many other venomous invertebrates, including jellyfish and cone snails. The box jellyfish is the most venomous jellyfish in the world.
Venom can also be found in some fish, such as the cartilaginous fishes – stingrays, sharks, and chimaeras – and the teleost fishes including onejaws, catfishes, stonefishes and waspfishes, scorpionfishes and lionfishes, gurnards, rabbitfishes, surgeonfishes, scats, stargazers, weever, swarmfish, and pufferfish.
There are only a few species of venomous amphibians; certain salamandrid salamanders can extrude sharp venom-tipped ribs.
The reptiles most known to use venom are snakes, some species of which inject venom into their prey via fangs.
Snake venom is produced by glands below the eye (the mandibular gland) and delivered to the victim through tubular or channeled fangs. Snake venoms contain a variety of peptide toxins, including Proteases, which hydrolyze protein peptide bonds, nucleases, which hydrolyze the phosphodiester bonds of DNA, and neurotoxins, which disable signalling in the nervous system. Snakes use their venom principally for hunting, though they do not hesitate to employ it defensively. Venomous snake bites may cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, swelling, tissue necrosis, low blood pressure, convulsions, hemorrhage (varying by species of snake), respiratory paralysis, kidney failure, coma and death.
Aside from snakes, venom is found in a few other reptiles such as the Mexican beaded lizard and gila monster, and may be present in a few species of monitor lizards.
One such reptile that was previously thought of as being nonvenomous is the Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis. It was then demonstrated through magnetic resonance imaging that the Komodo dragon possess a mandibular gland with a major posterior compartment and five smaller anterior compartments. The scientists used mass spectrometry to show that the mixture of proteins present in the venom was as complex as the proteins found in snake venom.
Due to these recent studies investigating venom glands in squamates, lizards that were previously thought of as being nonvenomous are now being classified by some scientists as venomous because they possess a venom gland. This hypothetical clade, Toxicofera, includes all venomous squamates: the suborders Serpentes and Iguania and the families Varanidae, Anguidae, and Helodermatidae.
Sinornithosaurus, a genus of feathered dromaeosaurid dinosaur, may have had a venomous bite. This hypothesis is still being disputed. The theropod Dilophosaurus is commonly depicted in popular culture as being venomous, but this portrayal is not considered likely by the scientific community.
Some mammals are also venomous, including solenodons, shrews, the slow loris, and the male platypus.
Euchambersia, a genus of Therocephalia (animals close to the evolution of mammals) is known to have had venom glands attached to its canine teeth, used to help subdue and kill its prey. The potency of its venom is unknown.
Physicians treat victims of a venomous bite with antivenom, which is created by dosing an animal such as a sheep, horse, goat, or rabbit with a small amount of the targeted venom. The immune system of the subject animal responds to the dose, producing antibodies to the venom's active molecules; the antibodies can then be harvested from the animal's blood and injected into bite victims to treat envenomation. This treatment can be used effectively only a limited number of times for a given individual, however, as a bite victim will ultimately develop antibodies to neutralize the foreign animal antigens injected into them as components of the antivenin. This is called sensitization. Even if a bite victim does not suffer a serious allergic reaction to the antivenom, his own, sensitized, immune system may destroy the antivenom before the antivenom can destroy the venom. Though most individuals never require even one treatment of anti-venom in their lifetime, let alone several, those routinely exposed to snakes or other venomous animals may become sensitized to antivenom due to previous exposure.
Aristolochia rugosa and Aristolochia trilobata, or "Dutchman's Pipe", are recorded in a list of plants used worldwide and in the West Indies, South and Central America against snakebites and scorpion stings. Aristolochic acid inhibits inflammation induced by immune complexes, and nonimmunological agents (carrageenan or croton oil).][ Aristolochic acid inhibits the activity of snake venom phospholipase (PLA2) by forming a 1:1 complex with the enzyme. Since phospholipase enzymes play a significant part in the cascade leading to the inflammatory and pain response, their inhibition could lead to relief of problems from scorpion envenomation.
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The regal moth (Citheronia regalis), also called the royal walnut moth, is a North American moth in the saturniidae family. The caterpillars are called hickory horned devils. The adult (Imago) has a wingspan of 3.75-6.1 in (9.5-15.5 cm).
Citheronia regalis The adult moth is the largest moth by mass in latitudes north of Mexico]citation needed[, as are the spectacular larva and the substantial pupa.