Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine's Day Caterpillar

Isabella Moth Caterpillar - Valentine's Day in Wisconsin

It's hard to believe the temperature was -35º F just last week.

We've had two near record-setting warm days in a row! 40-degrees F.   The snow piled up along the roadside is melting and the County Roads are wet and covered with wet sand.  The local meteorologists say it's a temporary tease.  Winter will return by the end of the week.

Today was the first day this year that I spotted insects outdoors:   a fly on my car windshield ...and a Woolly Bear caterpillar crossing Rustic Road 107.   (Yes, I brake for caterpillars).  I hopped out of the Prius, snapped a photo and gave the little insect an assisted road crossing. 

How does this caterpillar survive the cold?  Woolly Bears have a natural anti-freeze (glycerol) in their "blood."

What is it doing out and about in a February thaw?

It could have been disturbed by the snow plow that pushed the white stuff away from the shoulders.
It could have been out enjoying the sunny, warm weather.
It could have been hungry or thursty.

Whatever the reason - this was the earliest I've seen a Woolly Bear out and about.

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