Saturday, January 21, 2012

Arctic Woolly Bear Moth

The Arctic Woolly Bear Moth (Gynaephora groenlandica) is a fascinating creature. It is a moth that is found in the Acrtic circle. As a caterpillar, it emerges in spring and feeds on leaves during the short Arctic spring. Towards the end of spring, when temperatures start to drop, the caterpillar slows down its metabolism and practically freezes. It reawakens the next spring to repeat the cycle. This growth-freeze cycle continues for 7 to 14 years! After a decade it spins itself a cocoon and then finally emerges as a moth. BBC's "Frozen Planet" showed this moth on episode 2. Here are a few pictures of the caterpillar and moth from the show.

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