Banded Woolly Bear
Pyrrharctia isabella

f25 @ 1/60s, ISO:2500, Nikon D3S w 105mm macro

"Pyrrharctia isabella," Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Pyrrharctia isabella, the isabella tiger moth, whose larval form is called the banded woolly bear, woolly bear, or woolly worm, occurs in the United States and southern Canada. The thirteen-segment larvae are usually covered with brown hair in their mid-regions and black hair in their anterior and posterior areas. In direct sunlight, the brown hair looks bright reddish brown. The banded woolly bear larva emerges from the egg in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form, when it literally freezes solid. First its heart stops beating, then its gut freezes, then its blood, followed by the rest of the body. It survives being frozen by producing a cryoprotectant in its tissues. In the spring it thaws. Larval setae do not inject venom and are not urticant; they do not typically cause irritation, injury, inflammation, or swelling. Handling larvae is discouraged, however, because their sharp, spiny hairs may cause dermatitis in some people. When disturbed, larvae defend themselves by playing possum (rolling up into balls and remaining motionless) and quickly crawling away.
West Falmouth, Massachusetts