Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Woolly Bear Caterpillar

We had a visitor the the garden today, a Woolly Bear Caterpillar. It is fun to see these fuzzy strange creatures, they are much cuter than their adult Isabella Tiger Moth version.

The banded woolly bear eats grass and different types of plants. It overwinters in stacks of firewood or underneath bark or logs. Like most other caterpillars, it forms a chrysalis to begin pupation and remains there for three or four weeks. Some woolly bears go through metamorphosis in the summer, while others overwinter and pupate in the spring.

The adult that emerges from the cocoon of the banded woolly bear is the Isabella tiger moth which as a wingspan of up to 2 ½ inches. Their wings are typically yellow or brown, with black spots. Female Isabella tiger moths lay their eggs on several different types of plants, including sunflowers and corn. Isabella tiger moths have a unique trait that other insects do not have. They can emit a sound to ward off their predators.

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