woolly bear caterpillarArthropods

Pyrrharctia isabella

woolly bear caterpillarThat large, furry, orange and black thing you see crossing the road is a Woolly Bear caterpillar. They race about at a speedy pace of 4 feet per minute (that's .05 mph) in search of a cozy place to spend the winter. Legend says that the width of the bands foretells the severity of winter, but it is actually due to many factors including age. Older caterpillars have wider orange bands. The caterpillars feed on grasses. They are safe to pick up and will curl up into a ball when you touch them. In the spring they will turn into the Isabella Tiger Moth, a rather plain yellow-brown moth.

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photo: David L. Wagner

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