It's time again to shine the spotlight on a certain caterpillar. The larva of the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella), this fuzzy fellow is called the banded woolly bear, or woolly worm.
He is often black with a rust-colored band in the middle, although he might be almost all black or all rust.
Folklore says that if the rusty band is wide, then it will be a mild winter. The more black there is, the more severe the winter. Read more about this weather lore.
For more woolly worm fun, check out the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, North Carolina. At this annual October event, woolly worms race up to the top of their 3-foot-long strings, accompanied by thousands of cheers. The bands of the winner predict the coming winter.
Have you seen a woolly worm in your area? What did it look like? Feel free to share your experience.
Heidi Stonehill, our Senior Editor, joined the team in 2001. She enjoys the natural sciences, gardening, music, art, poetry, and animals—especially her fuzzy feline, Joey.