It’s time again to shine the spotlight on a certain caterpillar—the woolly worm! According to folklore, this fuzzy fellow has the ability to predict the weather.
Also called the woolly bear caterpillar, the banded woolly bear, or just woolly worm, he’s the larva of the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella).
In terms of appearance, the caterpillar has segments of either rusty brown or black. Often, he is black on both ends with rust-colored segments in the middle, although he might be almost all black or all rust.
Folklore says that if the rusty brown band is wide (more segments), then it will be a mild winter. The more black there is, the more severe the winter.
Note that white, yellow, or other colors of fuzzy caterpillars are NOT the same type of woolly worm and are not used for weather forecasting. We’ll leave the weather-prognosticating “skills” to your own observation!
For more woolly worm fun, check out the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, North Carolina. At this annual mid-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.
Is there any real science behind the woolly worm’s predicting power? Find out here!
Watch a short video about the woolly worm:
Have you seen a woolly worm in your area? What did it look like? Feel free to share your experience in comments below!