Insecta Class: Caterpillars, Butterflies, Moths

  • Vignesh Ramachandran
  • Theodore RosenEmail author


Lepidoptera, the second largest class of Insecta with over 180,000 species, is comprised of moths and butterflies, and their respective caterpillars. Lepidopteran reactions are the result of contact with moths, butterflies and caterpillars. Although largely harmless, they manifest as a range of dermatologic conditions and systemic symptoms. This chapter presents some of the common causative organisms in the United States and worldwide. Caterpillars (the larval form) are mostly implicated, although contact with some moths and butterflies may also cause dermatologic sequelae. Typically, treatment is avoidance, removal of hairs/setae and topical/oral corticosteroids and/or antihistamines. Overall, although many reactions are non-specific, the framework provided herein aids in compartmentalizing species and associated symptom complexes.


Bite Caterpillar Dendrolimiasis Dermatitis Lepidoptera Lepidopterism Moth Ophthalmia nodosa Sting Urticaria 


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© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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