Monday, October 21, 2013

Woolly Bear Caterpillars

One of my favorite things from childhood was finding woolly bear caterpillars. I grew up in the country, in Michigan, where woolly bears are common. Their fluffy bodies remind me of a kitty's tail. I love cats!

Over the years, we've moved to different areas, and once routine woolly bear sightings became rare. Imagine my delight when I saw five of these caterpillars this weekend.

I posted the following picture on Facebook Saturday. This was one of the caterpillars I came across.

A few friends of mine discussed the winter ramifications of the stripes. A narrow brown band supposedly means a harsh winter while a wide brown band signifies a mild winter. One problem? This one had a black band rather than a brown band. The colors had flip-flopped! The other woolly bears I saw had the traditional black bands with a wide brown stripe.

Woolly bears typically have two black sections flanking a light brown section. This one has two brown sections flanking a narrow black stripe.
I'm going to use my unscientific analysis to predict a MILD winter. Hey, why not? The markings must mean something, right?

Here are a few links to learn more about the cute woolly bear caterpillars.

http://cropsci.illinois.edu/news/woolly-bear-caterpillars-and-weather

http://www.almanac.com/content/predicting-winter-weather-woolly-bear-caterpillars

Do you remember any special insect from your childhood? How do you predict a mild or severe winter?

Have a lovely Monday!!

10 comments:

  1. To get an accurate prediction of Winter weather, you need to wait to May then you can tell if the Winter was stormier than normal (-;

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    1. CJ, after our FB discussion, I realized the caterpillar I took a photo of had opposite markings. The rest of the woolly bears I saw had wide center brown bands. ;) By May I typically conclude every winter is the worst! Ha!! Had fun chatting with you about this. :)

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  2. Hehehe...I almost had to stop reading when you said, "I love cats." Haha! That's very hard for me to resonate with. LOL. But I kept reading and I'm glad I did because a) the wooly caterpillar is cute and b) I'd never heard that about the bands.

    I don't think I have any cute insect memories from childhood...and as for predicting winter, being in Iowa, there's just no good predictor BUT anytime I do randomly hear someone say it's going to be a milk winter, I choose to believe them. :)

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  3. Iowa winters can be brutal! And I think you need a fluffy persian kitty--it would change your mind about cats. :)

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  4. I've never seen nor heard of these kind of caterpillars! :) I remember those rollie-pollie bugs from my few childhood years in Texas and summers visiting grandparents in Oklahoma. Not sure what they are actually called, but they're black and roll up into a ball when you try to touch them. I loved them as a kid!

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    1. Some call them roly-poly's. We called them potato bugs. I loved them! They're fun!

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  5. The way I heard each segment represents a week of winter. Black is bad weather and brown is good. When I see all black ones I just look away!

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    1. Take heart, Sarah, I saw a lot of brown on these bad boys! Mild winter here we come!

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  6. I remember those caterpillars! I haven't seen one since I was a kid, though, and I didn't know that about the stripes. That's interesting!

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