Osmeterium Harmful to Touch?

First let me compliment you on your site. You've got some great info. I have two questions for you. Regarding the osmeterium on the black swallowtail caterpillar -
1. have you ever touched it?
2. have you ever noticed any type of adverse skin reaction?, etc.

In my research on osmeteria, I have been unable to find out any information on how a person's skin coming in contact with that structure would react to its chemicals.
I'm a wildlife biologist starting up my own conservation education business and, especially regarding elementary school education, I'd like to find out if, for example, it would be safe for children to handle swallowtail caterpillars.
Thanks for your time. And May God Bless You.

Karen says:
I am glad you are enjoying my website. As far as the osmeterium goes, I have not specifically touched it (I have touched the caterpillar to see it emerge) so I can't tell you if it would cause any adverse skin reaction. I found this information for you...

"Neither the stemapods of notodontids nor osmeteria of swallowtails are known to be harmful to humans; however, osmeteria, when extended, give off a musty odor."

The one comment I might say about the children handling the caterpillars is that normally it is recommended that people handle or touch the caterpillars as little as possible. I know that this is difficult when children are involved, though.

Your business idea sounds great and I wish you success with it. God bless you also.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Butterfly Questions.