The Wandering Wooly Bear

In between the rain drops there is a caterpillar out and about these days.The wooly bear is easily recognized by its orange/tan fuzzy body banded by black at either end.

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The wooly bear is the larval stage of the Isabella Tiger moth. While most of us recognize the wooly bear few will recognize it in its adult stage.

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The male Isabella Tiger moth is differentiated from the female (below) by the female’s pink colouring on the underwings.

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The wooly bear is a unique caterpillar that although undergoes a 4 stage metamorphosis is will not enter the 3rd stage: pupation until is has enough energy to transform itself into its next stage of life as an adult. Wooly bears in their pursuit of elusive adult life can remain in their pupa stage for years, surviving the freezing months of our temperate climate, year after year after year.

Discovery has an excellent video you might enjoy: Frozen Planet – The Wooly Bear.

Understanding the beauty and complexity of such a humble and common insect helps us make the changes we desperately need to become sustainable.

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