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Woolly Bear Moth Caterpillar (Isabella Tiger Moth)

Pyrrharctia isabella

Description:

The Woolly Bear Moth Caterpillar, Pyrrharctia isabella, are commonly identified as orange and black individuals, although blond, brown, rust, and tan variations also occur. All color forms are densely covered with stiff bristles of mostly uniform length, a few slightly long, softer hairs extend from either end of the body. Pale forms with tan or white spiracles. The caterpillar grows to 5 cm. They occur in fields, bottomlands, woodlands, and forests across Canada south to Florida and Texas. Through much of the East, there are two generations per year, possibly more near the Gulf. Common Foodplants include many low-growing herbaceous and woody plants, that are not limited to the following: dandelion, grass, lettuce, meadowsweet, and nettle. The Woolly Bear, also known as the Black-Ended Bear, is very familiar; constantly seen across driveways and sidewalks. Their wandering is a mystery, for they can eat practically anything. Nonetheless, they seem to be searching for something. Rural legends imply that the thickness of the orange band signifies the length of the winter, although the bands are quite variable. Actually, at the end of each molt, the black hairs are replaced by the orange hairs.

Habitat:

They occur in fields, bottomlands, woodlands, and forests across Canada south to Florida and Texas. Through much of the East, there are two generations per year, possibly more near the Gulf. Common Foodplants include many low-growing herbaceous and woody plants, that are not limited to the following: dandelion, grass, lettuce, meadowsweet, and nettle.

Notes:

Source, partially, if not wholly excerpted from: "Caterpillars of Eastern North America" David L. Wagner With special acknowledgement for support recieved from the United States Forest Service FHTET Program and Discover Life in America Princeton University Press

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2 Comments

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 2 years ago

Thanks Marco! I can agree!

MarcoAntonio
MarcoAntonio 2 years ago

Weird, but beautiful!

Maine, USA

Lat: 43.89, Long: -70.33

Spotted on Jul 25, 2011
Submitted on May 1, 2012

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