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The Woolly-bear

from Things To See In Springtime





The Woolly-bear (the moth is 1-1/4 life size) The Woolly-bear (the moth is 1-1/4 life size)

Do you know the Woolly-bear Caterpillar? It is divided into three parts; the middle one brown, the two ends black. Everyone notices the Woolly-bear, because it comes out in early spring, as soon as the frost is over, and crawls on the fences and sidewalks as though they belonged to it. It does not seem to be afraid of any one or anything. It will march across the road in front of a motor car, or crawl up the leg of your boot. Sometimes when you brush it off with your hand, little hairs are left sticking in your fingers, because it is really like a small porcupine, protected by short spears sticking out of its skin in all directions. Here at the side of the picture, is one of these hairs seen under a microscope.


Where did the Woolly-bear come from? It was hatched from an egg last summer.


And now what is going to happen? It will stuff itself with rib-grass or other low plants, till it has grown bigger; then it will get a warning from the All-mother to prepare for the great change. In some low dry place under a log, stone or fence-rail, it will spin a cocoon with its own spikey hairs outside for a protector. In this rough hairy coffin it will roll itself up, for its "little death," as the Indians call it, and Mother Carey will come along with her sleeping wand, and touch it, so it will go into sound sleep, but for only a few days. One bright sunny morning old Mother Carey comes around again, touches the Woolly-bear bundle-baby, and out of it comes the Woolly-bear, only now it is changed like the Prince in the story into a beautiful Moth called the Tiger-Moth! Out he comes, and if you look up at one end of the coffin he is leaving, you may see the graveclothes he wore when first he went to sleep. Away he flies now to seek his beautiful mate, and soon she lays a lot of eggs, from each of which will come another little Woolly-bear to grow into a big Woolly-bear, and do it all over again.







Next: How The Violets Came

Previous: Diablo And The Dogwood



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