Friday, 27 August 2010

Crossing Guard

Today I assisted two Banded Woolly Bear Caterpillars across the road. I was out for one of my two daily walks--designed to make sure I'm getting outside and fresh air while being cooped up finishing my dissertation--when I saw the first. Woolly Bear Caterpillars are pretty big. They're fuzzy and black with a brown stripe across their midsections. Old wives' tales say that the length of their brown middle is related to the harshness of the upcoming winter. I'm quite happy to report that their brown middles were quite small in comparison to their black ends. If the caterpillars can predict it, this winter won't be as nasty and full of snow as last. (Sorry, government employees, no paid week of work due to snow.)

I laid down a stick to get the first caterpillar up and into a flower bed. He curled up when I laid him down and I stood around for a minute making sure he uncurled and continued on his way. No sticks in sight when I happened upon the second caterpillar, so I used a semi-dried and two-days cut piece of weed. It still had leaves on it. That made it hard to pick the caterpillar up since it was more interested in eating the leaves. But that was interesting, too. I watched it devour about 5 of the leaves before rolling it on to the stem and moving it to the grass where there were tons of leaves for it to munch. Watching it eat was interesting because you can't see it eat, but rather quickly the leave just sort of stops being there.

If my identification is right, then these little guys, providing they make it, will turn into Isabella Tiger moths. They'll overwinter in their caterpillar stages and sometime next spring start their transformation. Hope you make it, guys!

Some info:

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