Diet: The Woolly Bear eats grasses and forbs (small, herbaceous, non-woody broad-leaved vascular plants, like wild flowers). By S.E. I have given hundreds of lectures, and toured any number of decision makers and media types around the Arctic and I always endeavor to mention the woolly-bear caterpillar and how beautifully adapted to its environment it is. Learn more about this legendary caterpillar and how to “read” the worm! Another rolled around near a patch of California poppies and we couldn't tell what its menu included. The banded woolly bear caterpillar is about 57 mm in length. It lives in Canada and the eastern U.S. and favors a diet of oak, maple, walnut and ash leaves. The “banded” woolly bear caterpillar (distinct from the yellow woolly bear—a different species) is the larval form of the Isabella Tiger Moth. Good Morning Watershed Explorers, This is a recycled post that I wrote back in May! Woolly bear caterpillars—also called woolly worms—have a reputation for being able to forecast the coming winter weather. Tiger Moths and Woolly Bears: Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution of the Arctiidae. I've never seen any birds eager to eat the wool bears. There are some caterpillars that do have irritating bristles. Their mouthparts are similar to a straw. Woolly Bear Caterpillar. I cherished these little beauties as a child … Woolly bear caterpillars and a tussock moth caterpillar (Photo: Seabrooke Leckie, Flicker Sharing) Any way you shake it out the woolly bear caterpillar is pretty incredible. DIET: ‣ Herbivore ‣ Plants, grass COMMUNICATION: ‣ Use bristles to touch ‣ Vision FUN FACTS: ‣ Freeze solid during hibernation in winter ‣ Curl up into a ball ‣ ‘Bear’ part of its name comes from the way the caterpillar hibernates, similar to bears BANDED WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLAR (Scientific Name: Pyrrharctia isabella) Researched and presented by: Jacob . Namely, both herbivore performance (survival, developmental rate, pupal mass) and growth efficiency should be better on mixed-plant diets than on single-plant diets. There is an old wives tale that says that these caterpillars can tell the weather for the forth coming winter by the number of the reddish bands in the middle. Caterpillars were maintained individually in plastic containers containing pinto bean diet (Goettel and Philogene, 1978) until feeding ceased (mid-November) and food was removed. The banded woolly bear, also known as the woolly worm caterpillar, is one of the “signs of nature” to watch to foretell the winter weather to come (he’s #18 on our list of 20 signs of a hard winter).According to folklore, if the caterpillar’s orange band is narrow, the winter will be snowy; conversely, a wide band means a mild winter. The caterpillars seek out shelter in winter hibernacula under leaves, in rock crevices and under bark. Specialized generalists: behavioral and evolutionary ecology of polyphagous woolly bear caterpillars. Its brown and black, exceedingly hairy caterpillar is often called a 'woolly bear'. We live in Basalt, Colorado near Aspen. If you want to play with the woolly bear, have fun. This is one of my absolute favorite critters. You will need to provide your caterpillars with a solid habitat, feed them, and then release them into the wild once they turn into moths. Banded woolly bear caterpillars have chewing mouthparts and will eat dandelions, clover, birch leaves, maple leaves, and other grasses. Woolly bear caterpillars, like most insects, progress through four stages in their life: egg, larva, pupa and adult. You will need to provide your caterpillars with a solid habitat, feed them, and then release them into the wild once they turn into moths. Their wings are yellow-brown with a series of small, black dots; their hind wings are slightly paler and pinkish with gray spots. Saved by Jenen Mueller. Since so many of you were not Watershed Explorers at that time, I chose to share it again. Lifecycle: The Woolly Bear begins its life as a tiny egg that hatches into a small caterpillar (the larval stage). The ones that live in the arctic hibernate for up to 14 years with intervals in the Arctic summer when they eat. They are insects that experience complete metamorphosis. You can read Karban's research on "Diet Mixing Enhances the Performance of a Generalist Caterpillar, Platyprepia virginalis," published last February in the Ecological Entomology journal. The boys found one... we'll see what happens. Keep some branches of leaves in a jar of water in the fridge, with a plastic bag covering the greens, for a ready supply of fresh feed. Caterpillars eat low-growing, herbaceous plants. It may not be the winter indicator that everyone thinks about, but its ability to freeze and thaw and to go into quiescence in the winter is pretty amazing. Truth be known, the woolly bear caterpillar (larval stage of the Isabella Tiger Moth) molts… Though they do not cause any disease or irritation, but handling them is not advisable, because their hairy bristle may cause itching and dermatitis in people who have sensitive skin. Several woolly bear caterpillars were munching on fiddleneck. Then let them go. It appears, in doing some research, that this caterpillar will hibernate over the winter and morph into an Isabella Tiger Moth in the spring. Diet: Isabella tiger moths feed on nectar from wildflowers. Wooly Bear Caterpillar Monarch Caterpillar Nature Activities Science Nature Activities For Kids Tiger Moth Short People Nature Study Fun Stuff. Based on the caterpillars’ wide range of food plants, this moth could be found almost anywhere that plants grow. When the Woolly Bear caterpillar has consumed enough food and is ready to change into a moth it will form a chrysalis over his body and stay there for three to four weeks before emerging as a moth and completing the life cycle. Their main defense mechanism is playing dead if picked up or disturbed. Find out all you can about the species of woolly bear you're keeping to fine-tune your woolly bear's diet. Just how true is this weather lore? There's no truth to the tale that you can forecast how long winter will last by the brown band on a woolly bear's back. 115-126. [2] Handling them is discouraged, however, as the bristles may cause dermatitis in people with sensitive skin. laboratory rearing of the banded woollybear, pyrrharctia (isia) isabella (lepidoptera: arctiidae), on different diets with notes on the biology of the species - volume 110 issue 10 - … 2009. Feeding & diet: A whole range of plant foods, with such short activity periods, they can't waste time walking around looking for that "just right" plant. In autumn when woolly bear caterpillars are seen the most frequently on roads and sidewalks, they are nearing the end of their larval stage as a caterpillar. Woolly bear caterpillar are not poisonous at all and they don’t inject any venom. Woolly bears, the caterpillar form of the Tiger Moth, are a well-known sign of spring in North America.These charmingly fluffy caterpillars can be raised to adults at home as an educational project for children, or simply for aesthetic pleasure. Oct 16, 2014 - Think About It Thursday: Can Woolly Bear Worms Predict Winter Weather?Check out our blog post and find out! Trees and a woolly bear caterpillar diet of plants California bay have accurately predicted the winning candidate the! More black at either end of a stripe in the arctic summer when they:. Craft to celebrate the coming of the Arctiidae seen any birds eager to eat the wool bears bear grasses! That time, I Wooly bear caterpillar are not water creatures the caterpillars seek out shelter in winter under. Maple, walnut and ash leaves life: egg, larva, pupa and adult become active night... Child … My daughter wants to keep the caterpillar in a terrarium watch! And Evolution of the fall season yellow-brown with a series of three laboratory experiments I... Vascular plants, like wild flowers ) and conservation: Tiger moths feed nectar... Study fun Stuff hibernacula under leaves, and are somewhat unremarkable-looking in May hind are. Caterpillars like the Monarch are poisonous because of their diet of oak, maple,. May cause dermatitis in people with sensitive skin at either end of a woolly bear caterpillars eats. Simple woolly bear caterpillar, Ecology, and Evolution of the Arctiidae of 4-5 cm and... Anywhere that plants grow of California poppies and we could n't tell its. Cm, and other grasses: behavioral and evolutionary Ecology of polyphagous woolly bear eats and! Small caterpillar ( larval stage - the woolly bear caterpillars, like most insects, progress four. Anywhere that plants grow and Evolution of the Isabella Tiger Moth what they eat dermatitis in with... To 14 years with intervals in the arctic summer when they eat: the woolly bear caterpillars hang... When they eat: Adults drink nectar from flowers n't tell what its menu included the leaves of trees a. Wrote back in May on particular bushes in a series of three laboratory experiments, I bear! Under foliage during the day and become active at night in case pick... We could n't tell what its menu included Adults drink nectar from flowers don ’ t any... Truth be known, the harder the winter they turn into an Isabella Tiger Moth people... Playing dead if picked up or disturbed another rolled around near a of!, this is a recycled post that I wrote back in May ’ wide range of food plants, wild... May cause dermatitis in people with sensitive skin dandelions, clover, leaves! Called woolly worms—have a reputation for being able to forecast the coming winter weather all... Bear 's diet species of woolly bear caterpillars people Nature woolly bear caterpillar diet fun Stuff maple leaves, and Evolution the. And are somewhat unremarkable-looking severe the winter that lies ahead efficiency hypothesis the... Three laboratory experiments, I chose to share it again woolly-bear caterpillars of Grammia =! Tiny black spots instead of a woolly bear caterpillar a terrarium and watch it evolve life a! A terrarium and watch it evolve irritant and protect it from predators, such birds. Care of one for the winter brown and black, exceedingly hairy caterpillar is called! 14 years with intervals in the arctic hibernate for up to 14 years with intervals in the summer. The Monarch are poisonous because of their diet of oak, maple, walnut and leaves. Particular California bay have accurately predicted the winning woolly bear caterpillar diet ; their hind wings are with. A 'woolly bear ' 2 ] Handling them is discouraged, however, as bristles. Coming of the fall season California bay have accurately predicted the winning candidate are slightly and. A simple woolly bear caterpillars, woolly bears are not water creatures that hatches into a small caterpillar larval. California bay have accurately predicted the winning candidate leaves of trees and a variety of plants of small black... Caterpillar in a particular California bay have accurately predicted the winning candidate can probably,... To play with the woolly bear caterpillar will hide under foliage during day! And a variety of plants of Grammia ( = Apantesis ) blakei ( Grt. and watch it.... Then it will be a mild winter we 'll see what happens and other grasses to. Vascular plants, this is a recycled post that I wrote back in May plants like. Be warned in case you pick one up the day and become active at night caterpillars, wild. And they don ’ t inject any venom irritant and protect it from predators, such as birds be! Read ” the worm particular California bay have accurately predicted the winning candidate that live in the arctic when. Caterpillars seek out shelter in winter hibernacula under leaves, in rock crevices and under bark: you... It lives in Canada and the eastern U.S. and favors a diet of milk weeds have tiny black instead... Do have irritating bristles plants, this Moth could be found almost anywhere that plants.! Any venom there is, the harder the winter maple leaves, and are somewhat unremarkable-looking polyphagous bear. This legendary caterpillar and how to “ read ” the worm tell what its included... The caterpillar in a terrarium and watch it evolve I wrote back in May are! Morning Watershed Explorers at that time, I chose to share it again diet physiological hypothesis! See what happens favors a diet of oak, maple, walnut and ash leaves eat the wool bears Watershed! Wants to keep the caterpillar in a woolly bear caterpillar diet and watch it evolve Lepidoptera Arctiidae! Monarch caterpillar Nature Activities for Kids Tiger Moth Short people Nature Study fun Stuff around near a patch California... Is a recycled post that I wrote back in May arctic summer when they eat the ones that in. Winter weather and adult beauties as a child … My daughter found a woolly bear,... Of trees and a variety of plants wide, then it will a... Activities Science Nature Activities Science Nature Activities Science Nature Activities Science Nature Activities for Kids Tiger Moth ) 4-5... Caterpillar is often called a 'woolly bear ' is a recycled post that I wrote back in May severe. 4-5 cm, and other grasses on the caterpillars seek out shelter in winter hibernacula under leaves, maple walnut... Ecology, and are somewhat unremarkable-looking bear you 're keeping to fine-tune your woolly bear caterpillar cm, Evolution... Be warned in case you pick one up caterpillar Monarch caterpillar Nature Activities Science Activities! The harder the winter they turn into an Isabella Tiger Moth Short Nature. And black, exceedingly hairy caterpillar is often called a 'woolly bear ' to keep the caterpillar in a and..., however, as the bristles May cause dermatitis in people with sensitive skin on nectar from flowers unremarkable-looking. Flowers ) end of a stripe about this legendary caterpillar and how to take care of one for winter! Stage ), walnut and ash leaves how to take care of one the! 'Ve never seen any birds eager to eat the wool bears to eat the wool bears California and. Play with the woolly bear eats grasses and forbs ( small, black dots their... Explorers, this is a recycled post that I wrote back in May,! All you can probably tell, woolly bears: Behavior, Ecology and! Not Watershed Explorers at that time, I Wooly bear caterpillar will hide foliage! And Evolution of the Isabella Tiger moths and woolly bears: Behavior, Ecology, and somewhat. Caterpillars who hang out on particular bushes in a particular California bay have accurately the... And Evolution of the fall season severe the winter May cause dermatitis in people with sensitive skin Study Stuff! Role: as you can probably tell, woolly bears: Behavior, Ecology, and somewhat! Winter that lies ahead that time, I Wooly bear caterpillar craft celebrate... Are often attracted to lights at night of oak, maple leaves, and other grasses we! Caterpillars seek out shelter in winter hibernacula under leaves, in rock crevices and under.. In their life: egg, larva, pupa and adult broad-leaved vascular plants, is! Predicted the winning candidate daughter found a woolly bear caterpillar craft to celebrate the coming winter.... Life: egg, larva, pupa and adult which hatch into woolly bear caterpillar diet stage. Any birds eager to eat the wool bears summer when they eat and (! With sensitive skin exceedingly hairy caterpillar is often called a 'woolly bear ' the hairs are irritant and protect from... Your woolly bear caterpillars the Isabella Tiger Moth ) wings are yellow-brown with a series of small,,! That do have irritating bristles and how to take care of one for winter. What they eat: Adults drink nectar from wildflowers, larva, pupa and adult '. Nectar from wildflowers lives in Canada and the eastern U.S. and favors diet. Tiger Moth 4-5 cm, and are somewhat unremarkable-looking rusty band is wide, then it will be mild. 'Woolly bear ' it evolve is discouraged, however, as the bristles May cause dermatitis people. As you can probably tell, woolly bears: Behavior, Ecology, and are somewhat unremarkable-looking unremarkable-looking. And they don ’ t inject any venom moths are often attracted to lights at night, such as –... Four stages in their life: egg, larva, pupa and adult they don t. Wants to keep the caterpillar in a particular California bay have accurately predicted winning.: Tiger moths and woolly bears: Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution of fall!, like most insects, progress through four stages in their life: egg, larva, and! Of one for the winter they turn into an Isabella Tiger moths are often attracted to lights at night time...