Posted by: atowhee | October 28, 2010


We occasionally see a black bear around Ashland.  Joggers, hikers, bikers, dog walkers occasionally will see a bear in the National Forest just outside of town.  Not long ago I tastelessly–but hardly odorlessly–blogged the bear scat we found. But a few days ago I ran into a bear of a far more delicate scale.  Here, my “woolly bear:”

This is the caterpillar of the Isabella moth, always an autumn creature hereabouts.  To the moth scientist, the species is Pyrrharctia isabella.

This caterpillar will over-winter, producing its own anti-freeze.  Then in early spring it eats grass and weeds, pupates and comes out as a medium-sized yellow moth.  You can read about its life and legends here on wikipedia.

If you ever needed evidence of the cultural poverty, nay the veritable paucity of reasons to exist, in the eastern U.S., ponder this:  four states (Ohio, PA, North Carolina and Kentucky) can boast a local festival dedicated to the woolly bear!

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