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Species Page - Pyrrharctia isabella
Pyrrharctia isabella ->species page

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scientific name    Pyrrharctia isabella    (J.E. Smith)

common name     Isabella Tiger

habitat
This species inhabits open parkland and prairie habitats.

seasonality
Mid June to mid July.

identification
The amount of black on the forewing is somewhat variable, but this species is fairly distinct with its yellow ground colour and black markings. Females have a pink tinge to the hindwing, whereas males have a yellow hindwing.

life history
No information available.

conservation
Although widespread, this species is usually not common.

diet info
Known to feed on a wide variety of plants, primarily herbs and forbs.

range
Widespread across the U.S. and southern Canada. It is likely at its northern range limit in the southern boreal forest of Alberta.

quick link
http://entomology.museums.ualberta.ca/searching_species_details.php?s=215



Comments (7)Add New Comment

Linda M. Champagbe (2011-12-04)
Woolly Bear:
Saw one today in sun-warmth near 50 F. on driveway in December. In town of Greenfield,New York on wooded farm area, along rural road. Placed it off entry road and near tree base. In moving these from old farm porches, and open land, often put them in more vegetated area. What is best place to put them when moving from busy area. Have a great photo of one illuminated by rising sun rays as it walks along an old plank. Do I see a tiny tongue on its face, or is it just the sun hitting some 'hair' at the front of the lower face.
I have yet to see and photograph the moth. Is it a day flyer?
Was pleased to have this information you have provided.
Linda Champagne, writer/photographer
Niskayuna, New York

Gary Anweiler (2011-12-08)
Hello Linda. I appreciate your method for relocating the caterpillars that you encounter on your deck; much superior to the more common "stomp and remove? method!
These roaming "cats" are likely done feeding and are seeking a place to build their cocoon, so what you are doing sound fine. The caterpillars do not have tongues as such, rather a set of hard mandibles for processing vegetation, so perhaps it was these or a tuft of hairs that you saw, as you suggested. The moths are mainly nocturnal, and are sometimes encountered at or near lights that were on overnight.

Gary Anweiler

Solomon Zweig (2012-02-24)
Hi! I'm 7 years old, and I found 3 wooly bear caterpillars that I am keeping in a special cage from the pet store. I live in upstate New York. I keep a wet sponge in the cage, and give it fresh grass and leaves. One seems to have turned into a cocoon, one looks dead, and the third appeared on our doorstop the day the other one died. Am I doing the right thing? My Mommy is a Psychologist, but would like to be an entomologist in her next life! Thank You, Solomon

Felix Sperling (2012-02-25)
Hi Solomon (and Solomon's Mom),
I'll answer your question two ways. If you mean "doing the right thing?" as whether this is the best way to keep a cocoon so it will emerge to become a moth, then I suggest you should put the dead-looking one in the garden. If it really is dead, then that way if it goes moldy then it won't be a problem for the still-living cocoon. Also, you should put the cocoon in the cage outdoors or into your fridge so that it gets something closer to natural conditions. Like seeds, some insects need some cold in winter so they will develop properly. But the still-living caterpillar has probably finished eating and doesn't need more food, so you don't need to give it more, especially since it doesn't eat grass much, rather than a variety of herbs and shrubs.
But if you are asking whether it is ethically the right thing to put something in a cage (after all your Mommy is a psychologist!), I think it is a great idea to raise caterpillars so that you can see the mystery of "metamorphosis" up close yourself. You can release the moth that comes out, if you would like, or you can keep it to show other people how wonderfully cool insects really are.

Solomon Zweig (2012-03-01)
Thank You Felix!

Maddie (2014-02-01)
I am 8 years old. I found one of these caterpillars on my porch in North Alabama. I named him "Fuzzy." I would like to keep him in a clear container on my porch so that I can watch his metamorphosis. Would lettuce be a good food to put in his habitat? And what temperature would be too cold- so that I should bring him inside?

Gary Anweiler (2014-02-03)
Hi Maddie

Your caterpillar should be able to eat a wide variety of plants, including grass, almost any legume and leaves of various other plants, even lettuce (wash it and dry it first!). You can try several kinds of leaves and see what it likes. When it is ready to turn into a moth it will stop eating and wander around a bit and then spin a cocoon in which it will turn into a moth. Make sure what you feed it has not been sprayed with pesticides! Good luck with your caterrpillar !

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Specimen Info
There are 60 specimens of this species in the online database
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Specimen List (60)
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