Chicago Sun-Times
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Woolly bears: Unbearable lightness of being

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My wife thought this was a woolly bear, those fabled forecasters of winter, crawling around our yard Tuesday evening.

caterpillar09-22-10rs

I'm not so sure.

That is a woolly bear (woolly worm).

It is so light.

Or that woolly bears have any relation whatsoever to forecasting weather. I believe that was debunked a long time ago.

Then again, I'll clutch at a sign, even a wrong way one, that we might have a mild winter.

And I will keep looking on my prowls down country roads for the next month.

I wonder if the early rapid crop harvest will have any impact on the number and coloration of woolly bears.

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4 Comments

Have you been getting into womenfolk's hair dye?
Boy, the lengths some people will go in their wishes for a mild winter.
We need to get you some quality time on the ice to get things back in phase.
And don't believe the humping scooting crawly naysayers!
They'll trick ya!

What you have in the picture is a Yellow Bear Caterpillar. They are not the same as the true Woolly Bear, however they are somewhat similar.
These don't (seemingly) predict the weather, but their banded counterparts do. Also notice the Yellow Bear's "hair" is long and wispy near the ends. The Woolly Bear's is more brsitly, like a pipe cleaner.

Hope this helps. And I have yet to see a true Woolly Bear this year.

Thanks Anon. The yellow woolly bear is different than the woolly bear most of us use for our enjoyment and wonder at winter forecasting. I did find our first dark woolly bear on Saturday, fairly usual dark markings, in case you check back Any Luc.

Whew!!

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 23, 2010 10:10 AM.

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