Frabjous Day … spring is finally bursting forth with a few days in the 70s and things are beginning to rock. High points yesterday included my first sightings of Woolly Worms (Woolly Bears) walkin’ along with an excited gait. I managed to videotape one and I even wrote a little poem to suit:
The Woolly Worm, Pyrrharctia isabella, is one of the few moth caterpillars that overwinters before it pupates. The caterpillars literally freeze solid during the winter, but are able to survive with the help of “cryoprotectant” chemicals that act as an antifreeze to protect the tissues.
Shortly after emergence in the spring, the caterpillars will find a safe place in which to spin a cocoon. From the cocoon will emerge the “Isabella Tiger Moth,” shown in the accompanying photo (obtained from Wikipedia). Adults live for only a few weeks, during which time they mate and the females lay eggs.
So, here in upstate New York, the Woolly Worms are suddenly appearing all over the place, having weathered the cruel winter just fine. Halleleujah … yet another miracle of spring.
NOTE: Is my poem anthropomorphic? Yep! Unscientific? Yep! Do I care? Nope! Sure, I could write a poem designed to deliver natural history facts, but that’s really not my purpose. If I release myself from a pre-conceived notion of the content of the poem, then something like this might very well pop out. It’s meant to be fun and light-hearted. Kid’s stuff? Well, maybe, but I’m 65-years old and this is coming out of me.