Sunday, September 29, 2019

Big Bug Summer Is Over, How About Big Bug Fall?

This summer was a banner summer for big bugs, from beetles to katydids. The big bug trend is continuing into the Fall, to my great delight. A couple of days ago, I saw one of the exemplars of North America's 'charismatic minifauna', a finger long woolybear caterpillar, the larval form of the moth Pyrrharctia isabella:

According to folklore, the wide brown band between the black anterior and posterior bands is supposed to presage a mild winter. Mild or not, these caterpillars are equipped with chemicals which protect them from cell damage so they can freeze solid throughout the winter.

It's been very warm lately, shorts weather is the rule, but this fuzzy caterpillar is a sure reminder that cooler weather is soon to come. What better reminder to get your sweaters out of storage is there than a fuzzy little buddy?


Li'l Innocent said...

I know it's a defensive move, but they're very cute when they curl up in a fuzzy black & cinnamon coil.

Have you read Douglas Tallamy's "Bringing Nature Home"? It's a very well-written argument for native species and biodiversity in the suburban landscape - in private backyards and gardens - as a critical defense against extinction and degraded ecology. He's great on insects and especially lepidoptera.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Sounds like my kind of read. I've long maintained that the ideal of a perfect lawn is insane. Why kill off the useful plants to grow a useless monoculture, which requires all sorts of chemicals to maintain?