Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Woolly Bears and Weather Prediction?

Right about this time of the year you will find the woolly bear caterpillar racing across roadways and parking lots in search of a warm dry place to hibernate for winter. They will hibernate for the Winter then emerge in the Spring to make their cocoon.

The Cocoon of the Isia Isabella Moth

Isia Isabella Moth
The Banded Woolly Bear caterpillar (the weather forecaster) is the immature stage of the Isabella Moth, Isia Isabella. According to folklore, the woolly bears bands are said to predict the severity of the upcoming Winter. Short black bands mean a mild Winter, wide black bands predict a harsh one. Scientists have done studies on this and found the bands to have no foretelling of the future weather, however, steadfast believers rely on it still.

The fuzzy hairs on this particular caterpillar help to defend it from prey, birds especially. Skunks however like to make a game of it, by batting the woolly bear around and pulling off the hairs before indulging. Use caution when hold one as a defense mechanism is to detach it's hairs and stick them into their prey which can cause pain that varies in intensity from one person to another.

Visit http://www.backyardwildlifehabitat.info/captureabear.htm to learn how you can rear a Woolly Bear of your own.

Here are some other color variations of this cute little bear:

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