from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The hairy caterpillar of any of various moths, especially that of the North American tiger moth Isia isabella, having a reddish-brown middle stripe and black at either end.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The larva of a moth of the family Arctiidae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. the hairy larva of several species of bombycid moths. The most common species in the United States are the salt-marsh caterpillar (see under Salt), the black and red woolly bear, or larva of the Isabella moth (see Illust., under Isabella Moth), and the yellow woolly bear, or larva of the American ermine moth (Spilosoma Virginica).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. caterpillar of numerous moths characterized by a dense coat of woolly hairs; feed on plants and some are destructive pests


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  • During late Summer and early Fall we often see Woolly Bear caterpillars crossing the road...not sure why they do this.

    February 4, 2008

  • The true woolly bear, sometimes called woolly worm, is the caterpillar stage of the Isabella tiger moth, Pyrrharctia isabella.

    This moth is found throughout the United States and in parts of Canada and Mexico.

    February 4, 2008