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by Jacki
(Grand Forks, B.C. Canada)

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Wooly Bear Caterpillar

Wooly Bear Caterpillars are usually seen towards the very end of summer – if there are few warm days, these fuzzy orange and black striped caterpillars trundle around endlessly. They seem to be aimless, but in fact they are looking for the perfect place to overwinter. They don’t metamorphose like other moths, in a chrysalis.

If disturbed from their ramblings, they roll up in a ball for protection and play dead.

Old country lore says that the difference in the length of the orange and black stripes will tell you how cold the winter is, but all the ones I’ve seen are the same – apparently, it just indicates how close they are to being fully grown, and ready to hibernate.

Interestingly, this is one of the few cases where the moth is named after the caterpillar, as the adult form is known as the Wooly Bear Moth.