Beware! It’s a Cyber World - - Facebook Warning About Black and White Venomous Catterpillar: Summary
|Black and White Fluffy Hickory Tussock Caterpillar |
A health warning message circulating via emails and through social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, asks the recipients to be cautious about little black and white caterpillar which is POISONOUS and many children have been affected by touching those little creature.
Before jumping to the final conclusion based on our research; let’s go through the contents of the warning message which look like below on the Facebook:
|Caterpillar Health Warning Message on Facebook |
And reads like this …
Few messages are read with a bit different in the end adding their own experiences … like below:
Beware! It’s a Cyber World - - Facebook Warning About Black and White Venomous Catterpillar: Details and Explanation
This warning message is being circulating on internet via emails and social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, since beginning of August 2011. The health warning message about dangerous black and white caterpillar, which can spread severe rashes and reactions, is actually a blend of facts and fiction.
Let’s analyse the facts inherent in this health warning message:
Fact No. 1 Existence: Actually the little creature do exist in the real world and is called ‘Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar’. The caterpillars, identified by their black and white furry exterior prefer hickories, walnuts, and related plants for food, but accept most any shrub or tree.
Fact No. 2 Effects: The hairs of the Hickory Tussock caterpillar, which has black tufts on its back and black spikes, can cause an allergic reaction or rash for some people who make contact with the insect.
Fact No. 3 Medically: Doctors say that the caterpillars are usually harmless. Children and others with a skin sensitivity/allergy to the caterpillar's hairs could develop an itchy rash.
Now just see below the fiction conveyed through this health warning message:
Fiction No. 1 New Creature: The message states this little creature as ‘new to the area’; but actually it’s giving a wrong impression. According to famous entomologist Charlene Donahue; the caterpillars are being seen in abundance pretty much throughout the different states of US including, Maine, New York and Ohio. Experts say that the insects are fairly common, and there may be more of them than usual in the area this summer. The last large-population year was 2002, told further.
Fiction No. 2 POISONOUS: The message states this little creature as ‘PISONOUS’; but again it was tried to establish a wrong impression based on the fact that they might cause rashes and allergy in rare cases. However, according to officials at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Oriskany, the little critters, known as the White Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar, are not actually POISONOUS.
Fiction No. 3 Embeddable Hair: The warning message further states that the caterpillars leave their white hair on skin that can infuse poison to the whole body. Totally rubbish claim it is; as it is stated earlier that the caterpillar are not poisonous at all.
Beware! It’s a Cyber World - - Facebook Warning about Black and White Venomous Catterpillar: Conclusion
After all the discussion above; it might be concluded that the severity and the tone of the black and white caterpillars related health warning is just exaggerated. But even then it is advised people not to touch these caterpillars and be cautious when cleaning up leaf litter on the ground since any hairs left behind by the caterpillar also could cause problems with some people.
The black and white caterpillars look interesting, inviting people to pick them up. The problem is, they have a defense mechanism, and they could leave you with an itchy rash. Children should specifically advised to get away from caterpillars as they have more sensitive skin that can be affected easily than any adult.