Did you know that there are over 900,000 different kinds of insects in the world?

Now that I have your attention, here's a wild story out of Dartmouth that had me researching like crazy to find the answer I was looking for. Thankfully, I was successful.

It all began when Dartmouth native Amy Monteiro was out and about hiking Destruction Brook Woods near Russell's Mills Village. As she returned to her car, she noticed something vibrant on her rear window. It was some sort of bright orange insect she (nor I) has ever seen before.

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Turns out it was a 'Monkey Slug', or essentially a ugly-looking caterpillar. This one, in particular, was just a little bigger than a quarter.

"It was very strange and it moved slowly like a snail," Monteiro said, "It didn't fly away and it moved very slow on the window."

According to Bird Watching HQ, Monkey Slugs are relatively harmless but should be avoided if you have sensitive skin, as mild rashes may occur. They are normally found this time of year (late summer) and will eventually transform (chrysalis) into Hag Moths by the following spring.

They're among the most common caterpillars found in Massachusetts and are often confused for spiders due to their hairy body. The location of discovery makes sense as Monteiro was surrounded by a woodland area as Monkey Slugs prefer oak and chestnut trees.

Again, if you happen to come across one, you have nothing to worry about. Take a good look at it, check it off your insect bingo card, and move on. Happy trails!

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