The Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella) is found throughout the United States, Mexico, and in Southern Canada.
Larvae feed on a wide variety of plants. Adults don’t feed at all, living only a few days, long enough to reproduce.
During the winter larvae nearly freeze solid, however their bodies produce an anti-freezing chemical that protects their tissues and organs.
According to folklore, you can use woolly bears to predict the severity of the winter: the narrower the red band is, the more severe the winter will be–though there is no scientific evidence of this. Several woolly bear festivals are held in towns across America, similar to Groundhog Day events.
Sources: Missouri Department of Conservation, Raritan Headwaters, and Wikipedia.
Photos: Brenda Dobbs, Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, Steve Jurvetson, and Paul VanDerWerf on Flickr