Do Bands on Woolly Bear Caterpillars Predict Winter?
Nature in October
Monarch butterflies are migrating on sunny days, and the first killing frosts edge the trees with color. Blazing red maples are the first to show, good indicators of swamp and wet woodland habitat.
Lots of birds are on the move: Great Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, and Black Crowned Night Herons are on their way south, trading places with the sea ducks, who are arriving from their breeding grounds on the tundra.
Scaup, Eider, Scoter, Goldeneye, Red-Breasted Merganser, and Bufflehead will provide good coastal bird-watching throughout the winter.
The Great Square of Pegasus centers itself in the night sky, while the Big Dipper dips down almost to the horizon.
Woolly bear caterpillars can be found curled up in sheltered places, entering diapause, a state of arrested growth and development.
In the spring, they will pupate and metamorphose into the pale yellow Isabella Tiger Moth. The width of the brown band on these fuzzy caterpillars, contrary to popular belief, does not indicate the severity of the upcoming winter, but rather shows the age of the caterpillar, widening as it grows older.
This article was written by Cindy Mom and originally published by Greenbelt in 1999.
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Thank you Jerry Monkman / ecophotography.com, Lynne Holton, Kindra Clineff, Adrian Scholes and John Raleigh.