HUBBALLI: A colourful caterpillar of the slug moth variety has now turned villain, thanks to viral posts on social media.
A message with the picture of a caterpillar and a dead body of a man was circulating claiming that the death occurred due to the insect which is often found in sugarcane clumps. This has created panic among farmers across the state who are in talks with the experts about killing the caterpillar variety.
Many agricultural experts and entomologists have now come forward with their own explanations about the caterpillar on social media. As per the experts, the moth caterpillar is harmless and does not cause death. "If touched there will be irritation on the skin that occurs with any of the moth caterpillars," they claimed.
Dismissing the claim an agricultural expert explains, "This is not the first time that miscreants have tried to create confusion among farmers. As the posts pertain to farmers and their safety they are made viral in no time. These varieties of caterpillars are not easy to find everywhere. They are recorded in a few parts of Western Ghats in the deep jungles. Hence there is no chance that these insects can be seen in sugarcane fields."
"Many insects are little known to commoners and hence the posts go viral with mere inquisitiveness. A few years ago, it was common that photoshopped images of five hooded snake sightings used to go viral. There are myths about the sand boa snake which is referred to as a two-headed snake. Believing such stories there have been cases of animal abuse in the past. The cybercrime police must keep an eye on such developments where animals or insects are made to look in poor light," the expert added.