On Friday, we found two very fuzzy new friends on our playground. The first was a “Woolly Bear”, otherwise known as the larva of an Isabella Tiger Moth. The second caterpillar was a fluffy white one known as a Fall Webworm. After taking turns holding the Woolly Bear, we put both caterpillars in an observation box so we could keep an eye on them. We looked in Peterson’s First Guides: Caterpillars, by Amy Bartlett Wright, to find out what kind of caterpillars we had found and what we should feed them. The Woolly Bear eats dandelions and low growing weeds. Ours seemed to enjoy the moss that the children had collected as well. The Webworm eats maple, oak, and other tree leaves, so we simply collected a few maple leaves for it.
This morning, we found that the Webworm had changed over the weekend. It is now wrapped up tightly in a fuzzy cocoon. The children were very excited to share that they knew all about cocoons already and announced that a butterfly would soon emerge. I haven’t decided if I’m going to explain the differences between butterflies and moths, yet. I usually spend a lot of time on this subject in the spring when butterflies are prevalent, but one must take advantage as an opportunity presents itself, yes?