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Banded Woolly Bear Caterpillar

Pyrrharctia isabella


The banded Woolly Bear larva emerges from the egg in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form, when it literally freezes solid. First its heart stops beating, then its gut freezes, then its blood, followed by the rest of the body. It survives being frozen by producing a cryoprotectant in its tissues. In the spring it thaws out and emerges to pupate. Once it emerges from its pupa as a moth it has only days to find a mate before it dies. Caterpillars normally become moths within months of hatching in most temperate climates, but in the Arctic the summer period for vegetative growth and hence feeding is so short, that the Woolly Bear feeds for several summers, freezing again each winter before it finally pupating. Some are known to live through as many as 14 winters. Wikipedia


Abbott's Lagoon hiking trail, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California, USA


misako 4 years ago

Thank you dylanjamesjoaquin--trying to get out there this year.

dylanjamesjoaquin 4 years ago

Love Abott's!!!

misako 7 years ago

Thank you MayraSpringmann!

MayraSpringmann 7 years ago

Cool picture!

misako 7 years ago

Thanks Argybee!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Nice info and shots - thanks!

Spotted by

California, USA

Lat: 38.12, Long: -122.94

Spotted on Apr 21, 2012
Submitted on Apr 23, 2012

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