The is Debra’s fuzzy photo. She has camera-captured the Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar, also known as the Yellow Wooly Bear Caterpillar. Debra was able to zoom in so we can see its long white hairs – or tufts – or tussocks .. hence the name.
DID YOU KNOW? In the fall, these yellow wooly bears will leave their food plants and move to areas where they can safely hibernate over the winter. They look for dark, sheltered places under leaves on the forest floor, near tree roots, in hollow logs, woodpiles, or in between rocks. They are in the larval stage all winter long, curled up into a little fuzzy coil. Wooly bears actually produce their own antifreeze, which permeates their cells and keeps them from freezing. Warm spring temperatures bring wooly bears back to life, usually March through May. They will continue to eat and then they spin a brown cocoon. After about a 3 week pupation stage, the adult Moth emerges to mate and lay eggs. FOLKLORE: The width of the yellow band on a wooly bear caterpillar is an indicator of the severity of the upcoming winter. A narrow yellow band indicates a harsh winter, a wide yellow band means the winter will be mild.
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