Caterpillars have an important ecological role as herbivores and as prey for numerous insects, birds, and other wildlife. There are approximately 11,000 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars in the country. Fewer than fifty species are identified as stinging caterpillars. These caterpillars do not sting in the same way a wasp or bee does. Instead, they possess specialized spines or bristles that cause a burning rash upon contact. Stinging caterpillars found in the state include the saddleback, puss moth, Nason's slug, and monkey slug.