Woolly Worm

A woolly worm found crawling through the autumn leaves.

It’s the time of year in the High Country when the march of the Woolly Worms begins. This familiar and fascinating insect, sometimes referred to as the Woolly Bear, and known to science as Pyrrharctia isabella, the Isabella Tiger Moth, will soon be seen wandering across many roadways.

One of the things that makes the fuzzy, multicolor Woolly Worm caterpillar so interesting is that dating back to Colonial times it has been proposed that the length of the brown and black bands on the caterpillar can predict the severity of winter. Though experts disagree on this, it is a fascinating part of mountain folklore and results in a lot of attention to the bands! Also, (and excitingly, especially for children!) since the caterpillar likes to be on the move this makes them a great choice for insect races.

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