Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wooly Bear

Wooly bear caterpillars (Pyrrharctia isabella) are an immature stage of the Isabella Tiger Moth. Superstition has it that the width of the colored bands can predict the severity of the coming winter (more black = colder winter). Not surprisingly, there is no scientific evidence to support this.

There is, however, interesting science on how these caterpillars survive the winter. Unlike the Monarchs that migrate to avoid Michigan's cold weather, or other species that overwinter as eggs, pupae, or adults, the wooly bear hibernates as a caterpillar, producing an internal antifreeze that keeps it from freezing solid.

I've seen a lot of these guys in Kalamazoo over the last few days.

No comments: