Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Woolly Bear Caterpillar

 

Curled up in Roger's hand
Lately, whenever we are out walking we've been seeing these caterpillars out and about. Mostly we find them on the road trying to get from one side to another. We always feel so bad for them because we've seen so many of them that have not made it across the road. We find their little squished bodies more than we find the ones slow-walking across.  So, of course, we help the ones we can. We always hope we're putting them someplace that will be safe for them and the perfect environment for their future cocoon stage. 

My twin brother called me other day to tell me about the 24 monarch caterpillars he and Kim found in their yard. It reminded me that I've never looked up what kind of caterpillar this is and what kind butterfly it will become. So, I googled it. Oh wow, what a surprise that was. I learned it's a Woolly Bear caterpillar, and it doesn't become a butterfly at all but a beautiful Isabella Tiger Moth. 

Isabella Tiger Moth image from Wikipedia
 I can't wait to see one of these beauties in the future. Perhaps it will be one we rescued from pavement trekking.


30 comments:

  1. Our version of Woolly Bear caterpillars also become Tiger Moths, though different from yours. It's much easier to find the caterpillars than the moths in my experience.

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    1. John-- I had a feeling that seeing the moth would be more difficult.

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  2. Another billion years of evolution for the caterpillars will perhaps ensure they are able to move fast enough to escape elderly Chevy Impalas.

    Alas, that same period will not only have consigned Chevy Impalas to dusty history, but also hybrids and so-called "pure" electrics. Plus vehicles capable of converting human brainwaves into a propulsive force but which also tend to give their drivers a headache.

    We'll be back to horses again and the local newspapers (printed on papyrus) will be full of stories of heroically hairy-chested but honourably poor youths putting their lives at risk saving crinolined virgins from runaway Clydesdales in the High Street. A tediously familiar form of rom-com novel will be re-born and women authors will be forced to adopt male pen-names to get published.

    Somebody, somewhere will say "What goes round, comes round" and will be beaten to death with a kryptonite baseball bat. And those capable of acts of imagination will take to their beds.

    Happy whatever-time-of-the-year-it-is.

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    1. Roderick-- Wow! That was quite a leap from caterpillars to kryptonite baseball bats. Truly a wild trajectory from a slow-moving caterpillar to a dystopian future. Are we there yet?

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    2. Not at all. Just a millionth of an inch between my synapses. Thankful that I can take refuge in my imagination, since there's little fun in reality

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    3. Roderick-- Not much fun in reality at all these days.

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  3. We have two swallowtail caterpillars that have taken up residence on our parsley plants in the herb garden. I've been looking up whether to "transplant" them to a container before the weather gets too cold. They are really cool to watch though.

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    1. Sharon-- It's hard to figure out what to do, how to intervene when the weather changes. I hope they make it!

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  4. Around here the old wives tale says what kind of winter it will be based on the brownness or blackness of Wooly Bear caterpillars. And don't ask me which one means what...I may be an old woman, but don't have the resultant wisdom at all!

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    1. Barbara-- I love that there is an old wives tale about Woolly Bear caterpillars.

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  5. What a beautiful moth! We used to have wooly bear caterpillars in Florida, but I'm not sure they're the same kind. Is there more than one wooly bear, I wonder?!

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    1. Steve-- Thank you for inspiring me to google search more info about these Woolly Bears. I found that there are eight different species in the US.

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  6. We don't know much about life around us.

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  7. I haven't seen Wooly Bears in a long time. I kind of remembered from my childhood what Barbara mentioned and looked it up. According to the Farmer's Almanac,"If their rusty band is wide, then it will be a mild winter. The more black there is, the more severe the winter." Cute little weathermen.

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    1. Patti-- They really are such cute little weathermen. When we came home from our afternoon walk there was one right in front of our house. I moved it to the yard where there's plenty of places for it to be safe. Yay!

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  8. I see a few wooly bears in the fall but did not know what they turn into. I've never picked one up though because they look so bristley.

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    1. ellen-- They do look prickly, but really they are so soft and curl up into a little ball as soon as you put them in your palm.

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  9. Still learning! From childhood on, I thought those were Monarch butterfly caterpillars. There was something comforting to me about them. I don't know that I've ever seen an Isabella Tiger Moth. Thank you!

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    1. am-- Oh wow, you should google monarch caterpillar. They are such different looking caterpillars. I think I saw a Tiger Moth once in Capitola. What a beauty!

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  10. I remember wooly bear caterpillars from my kidhood days in North Dakota and they looked just like the one in Roger's hand, curled up in self defense mode.

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    1. Catalyst-- I wish I could remember seeing them when I was a kid. What a lovely memory.

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  11. The made environment is just not healthy for anything living. I find earthworms and snails that have tried to make it across the desert of a concrete driveway almost every morning. The snails get to the middle, then get so dehydrated they stop. Then the sun comes up and finishes the job. I toss them into the grass and hope the moisture there revives them. Of course, I also find snakes, mice, birds and other things dead on the road all the time.

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    1. Mark--We humans really have made such a dangerous mess of things, haven't we.

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  12. I've not seen any of those for a while

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  13. I’ve seen a lot of the caterpillars around here, but don’t recall seeing the moth. I will keep my eyes open, next year. Thank you for showing what it looks like!👍

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    1. oldwhitelady-- I think I've seen a tiger moth twice, once in Santa Cruz, CA, and once in Port Townsend, Wa. I'm going to keep my eyes open and hope to spot one of these in the spring.

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  14. We rescued one the other day, Robin. Their feel is so sft although they always curl up when rescued.

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    1. Beatrice-- I love knowing that you rescued one the other day. Yes!!!

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