Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 53

pion to forecast winter weather. According to the woollyworm.com website, “The woolly bear caterpillar has 13 brown and black segments that correspond to the 13 weeks of winter. The lighter brown a segment is, the milder that week of winter will be. The darker a segment is, the colder and snowier the corresponding week will be.” I don’t think I’ll accept that bit of folklore, because one woolly bear I saw last fall was almost entirely brown, except for its black end, and we had a terrifically long and snowy winter. Furthermore, scientists claim that woolly bear caterpillars have six or seven instars and, the older they are, the more brown hairs they have; hence, my woolly bear was merely an old one. Still, I’m sure the Woolly Worm Festival, which had 20,000 attendees last fall, with its face-painting, dancing and live bands, is a lot of fun and possibly the only festival in North America devoted to a caterpillar. The woolly worm, also called the “black-ended bear,” “fuzzy-wuzzy” and “banded woolly bear,” spends the winter under leaf litter and boards, although we have them curled up on our outside cellar stairs and on our heated basement floor. Then, it pupates the following spring. Eventually, it morphs into the orange-yellow Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctica Isabella) — one of 11,000 members of the Arctiidae Family worldwide. Like many tiger moth caterpillars, they taste bad to predators, so they don’t bother to hide during the day, but why they wander when they aren’t particular about their food puzzles researchers. In fact, many temperate arctiids, which include such species on our property as milkweed tussock moths (Euchaetes egle), fall webworms (Hyphantria cunea), unexpected cycnias (Cycnia inopinatus), dogbane tiger moths (Cycnia tenera), virgin tiger moths (Grammia virgo), giant leopard moths (Hypercompe scribonia), Clymene’s haploas (Haploa clymene) and banded tussock moths (Halysidota tessellaris) are the only abunSEPTEMBER 2010

dant, widespread and species-rich lineage of Lepidoptera that crawl over bare ground during the day in North America. Most are dietary generalists; fall webworms, for instance, eat more than 400 plant species. Yellow bears (Spilosoma virginica), which are common in gardens and yards of the eastern U.S., like a host of low-growing plants, as well as woody shrubs and trees. Instead of defending themselves, many arctiid caterpillars fall to the ground if they are disturbed or, like woolly bears and giant leopard moths, curl up in a ball. The gregarious fall webworms in their messy nests thrash their bodies from side to side in unison. Arctiid caterpillars also take part in “walkabouts” in the fall. A small peak in hormones that makes them stop eating, empty their guts, and search for a good place to spend the winter triggers this behavior. While most overwinter as halfgrown caterpillars, some species, such as milkweed tussock moths, banded tussock moths and fall webworms, overwinter as pupae. Arctiids are unpalatable to predators, because either they have inborn noxious chemicals or obtain noxious chemicals through the plants they eat. The acquired chemicals are pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) from principally the snakeroots and ragworts or cardenolids or cardiac glycosides found in milkweeds and dogbanes, which affect the hearts of vertebrates. Unexpected cycnias, though, are dietary specialists and eat only butterfly weeds, a species of milkweed. Arctiid caterpillars can also hear. Researcher Raeleen Wilson, who worked with milkweed tussock caterpillars, discovered that their tufts of secondary setae (hair-like outgrowths from their bodies) are actually their ears and suspects the same is true for other arctiid caterpillars as well. She suggests whimsically that we should hum at other species of caterpillars and see if they react. Probably, they are listening for the
53


http://www.woollyworm.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010

Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010
Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Contents
First Archery Buck
Red Oak, White Oak
Just Like the Good Old Days
Step Back in Time
Antler Restrictions in Pennsylvania
What Goes Up . . .
First Time’s a Charm
100 Deer
The Brute
Flight 93
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
Fun Game
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - First Archery Buck
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Red Oak, White Oak
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Just Like the Good Old Days
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Step Back in Time
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Antler Restrictions in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - What Goes Up . . .
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - First Time’s a Charm
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 100 Deer
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - The Brute
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Flight 93
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - I1
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - I2
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Cover4
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