Pyrrharctia isabella

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Isabella tiger moth
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Arctiidae
Genus: Pyrrharctia
Binomial name
Pyrrharctia isabella

The Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella) lives in cold northern regions, especially the Arctic.

Its caterpillar, the banded woolly bear larva, overwinters. It literally freezes solid. It produces a body fluid which helps its tissues to avoid damage. In the spring it thaws out and emerges to eat and grow in the short Arctic summer.

In temperate climates, many moths go through one generation in a year. In the Arctic the summer period is so short that the Woolly Bear must feed for several summers. Each winter it freezes, until at last it can pupate. Some are known to live through as many as 14 winters.[1]

Once it emerges from its pupa as a moth it has only days to find a mate.

References[change | change source]

  1. David Attenborough series Frozen Planet, co-produced by the BBC tv. Series 1, episode 2, at around 26min 45sec.