Weather Tidbits: Woolly Bear Caterpillar Folklore

Can the woolly bear caterpillar predict how winter will be? This folklore depends on the color of the woolly bear and the severity of winter. The more black than brown, the harsher winter will be; while the more brown than black, the milder winter will be. Also, the folklore explains the locality of where its found on the caterpillar to its timing of the severity of winter. For example, the more black near the head indicates a harsh start to winter. The folklore is debunked as their colored patters are due to the caterpillar age, diet and species. The folklore dates back to colonial times and was popularized by entomologist Dr. Howard Curran in 1948 after he conducted a study.

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