Woolly Bear Caterpillar

A little more than a week ago, I was walking on my sidewalk with a friend, I was in mid sentence with her, when something made me look down and I spotted this fuzzy little black and brown caterpillar on a bright green leaf! I hadn’t seen a caterpillar in so many years I couldn’t help but to stop and take a moment to get a picture! I did see a short thin green caterpillar earlier this year I believe it was March, but it had been a long time since I’d seen a fuzzy or woolly one.  It reminds me of a bottle brush or the small metal brushes you use to clean auto or machine parts etc.. 🙂

I shared the picture and my parents mentioned that fuzzy caterpillars had something to do with winter weather prediction, so the idea intrigued me and I decided to look it up.

I came across this article “Predicting Winter Weather: Woolly Bear Caterpillars” Source: The 1999 Old Farmer’s Almanac http://www.almanac.com/content/predicting-winter-weather-woolly-bear-caterpillars

Found out they are the larval form of Pyrrharctia isabella, the Isabella tiger moth. They are also called black-ended bear or the woolly bear (and, throughout the South, woolly worm). While they seem to not have a specific correlation with the upcoming Winter but more a possible indicator of the age of the caterpillar and how late in the Spring it started its growth, in turn being an indicator of the previous Winter.

Aside from the weather predication, I find this a fascinating looking caterpillar and after looking at pictures on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrharctia_isabella , I realized that I’ve seen this moth many times and had no idea what it was called or what it looked like as a caterpillar. Good example of how simply walking out side your own front door can lead to a learning experience.




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