Sunday, September 30, 2012

Science Sunday: Identifying Caterpillars

My husband found this caterpillar outside our back door, so of course he brought it inside for all of us to see (homeschool dads are the best, aren't they?)  After everyone had a chance to gently touch it and watch it scoot quickly along, we put it back where Daddy found it, and decided to try to identify what type of butterfly or moth it would become.

We flipped through the field guide, looking at all the yellow caterpillars and all the fuzzy caterpillars, but we could not find it in our guide, which mainly pictures butterflies and moths without their caterpillar form.  After searching on the internet for "fuzzy yellow caterpillar," we found out that it is a yellow woolly bear caterpillar.  These caterpillars are usually seen in the early fall when they have almost finished their feeding season and are getting ready to hibernate for the winter.  It will grow up to be a Virginia tiger moth (Spilosoma virginica).  Once we found this information on the internet, we were able to find the Virginia tiger moth in the field guide.

Since we are learning animal classification in science (Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day), the boys drew a picture of the caterpillar in their notebooks and added the classification:
Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum:  Arthropoda
Class:  Insecta
Family:  Arctiidae
Genus:  Spilosoma
Species: S. virginica
{Linking up with Science Sunday}

1 comment :

Ticia said...

It's so pretty! I need to find a good field guide for Texas critters. All of the ones I've seen so far have been rather overwhelming to me.