The venom of the Lonomia caterpillar: an overview

Toxicon. 2007 May;49(6):741-57. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2006.11.033. Epub 2007 Jan 10.


Contact with the Lonomia caterpillar causes numerous accidents, especially in Venezuela and the southern region of Brazil, where it is considered a public health problem. The Lonomia obliqua venom causes disseminated intravascular coagulation and a consumptive coagulopathy, which can lead to a hemorrhagic syndrome. The venom of Lonomia achelous also causes hemorrhage, but through increased fibrinolysis. In vivo and in vitro studies have shown that the venom of the Lonomia caterpillar contains several toxins with procoagulant, anticoagulant and antithrombotic activities. These toxins also affect the endothelium. The recent construction of cDNA libraries of the transcripts from L. obliqua bristles enables the use of biotechnological approaches to study the venom. This paper presents an overview of the biochemical and biological properties of Lonomia caterpillar venom, discussing aspects of human accidents, experimental envenomation, toxins and targets and future perspectives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropod Venoms / chemistry
  • Arthropod Venoms / poisoning*
  • Bites and Stings / blood*
  • Blood Coagulation Tests
  • Hemorrhagic Septicemia / blood*
  • Hemorrhagic Septicemia / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Lepidoptera*


  • Arthropod Venoms