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Lightning in a Bottle: A Chronicle of Wonder

Entries in Caterpillars (2)


Woolly Bully

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.  A woolly bear, in this case.

Earlier today, The Bean came across a lively little woolly bear caterpillar, no doubt preparing itself for the colder weather ahead.  And, as our family's official Giver of Names, she dubbed her newfound friend "Fuzzy," which is as good a name for these bristly little fellows as any.

A common sight in the fall, chestnut and black-banded woolly bears are among those caterpillars that are much better known than their adult forms—they are the larvae of the relatively nondescript Isabella tiger moth.

But they are, of course, even more famous for their prognostication.  According to legend, the length of the woolly bear's middle, chestnut-colored band predicts the severity of the upcoming winter.  The shorter the band, the longer and colder the winter ahead.

It's been a pleasant and relatively mild fall in the mid-Atlantic, so far.  Could that generous band of reddish-brown mean more of the same for the winter ahead? 


As The Worm Turns

In which Thoreau and I discover great clusters of fall webworms on the sweetgum tree behind our house...

Add this to the gathering signs—such as the first woolly bear of the season, found this past weekend—that fall soon will be upon us:

Neither Thoreau nor I know exactly how fall webworms manage to synchronize their herky-jerky motions in this way—but, as you can see, he is quite fascinated by it. (And, as you can't see, so am I!)

Who knows? Maybe he'll be the next David Attenborough, one day...