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Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth.


 Updated: 8/14/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth  
Picture of Banded-Woolly-Bear-Caterpillar-Moth


The incredibly bristly Banded Woollybear Caterpillar is a bit slow on the move, allowing observers plenty of time to look, but be sure not touch.





The Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth gets its descriptive name from the appearance of the caterpillar, not the adult moth. The moth may be mustard yellow, orange, or rosy on its forewings with a few black dots on each. Shades and hues vary per individual with males showing an orange tint while females are more rosy. The hindwings are pink with gray dots on them and they are only visible when the wings are spread open and flat. Adults can be found in pastures, meadows, fields, and at the sides of roads and highways.

Its caterpillar form is hairy and black at both ends with a red band in at the waist. It is covered entirely in stiff hairs. Banded Woollybear caterpillars do not bite and lack stingers, but the hairs can easily break off into skin when touched, which will cause pain and irritation. It used to be believed that the amount of black coloration foretold how bitter the winter would be, but it seems more related to the caterpillar's maturity, not the weather forecast. The caterpillar feeds on many kinds of low-growing plants, but is not considered a pest either on the farm or in the garden. It is not uncommon to see them on sidewalks, curbs, roads and other people areas in the autumn.
Basic Information
Common Name: Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth
Other Name(s): Isabella Tiger Moth
Scientific Name: Pyrrharctia isabella
Category: Butterfly or Moth


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 40mm to 50mm (1.56in to 1.95in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: yellow, brown, black, pink, red
Additional Descriptors: hairy, bristly, spiky, flying, banded




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Arctiidae
Genus: Pyrrharctia
Species: isabella


Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


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