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?