Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The things we forget

with 43 comments

Woolly Bear Caterpillar on Gaura Flowers 1562

I recently searched my archive for a certain photograph, and in the process I discovered a set of pictures I’d forgotten all about that showed a woolly bear caterpillar on the flowers and buds of some gaura. Here’s one image in that set from May 6, 2010, on the Blackland Prairie along the Austin-Pflugerville boundary line.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 5, 2016 at 4:56 AM

43 Responses

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  1. I wonder if your woolly bears carry the same winter predictions as our northerners?

    The finding happens to me often also.

    Steve Gingold

    November 5, 2016 at 6:40 AM

  2. Splendide !


    November 5, 2016 at 7:16 AM

  3. Great composition and color, Steven.


    November 5, 2016 at 7:50 AM

  4. The guara blossoms seem to be performing for the little bear!


    November 5, 2016 at 8:29 AM

  5. Oh how cute! I only ever see them caterpillaring across a path. Last weekend I was out at Glacial State Park and we saw large, all black ones. We are unsure whether it is a variation or another species.


    November 5, 2016 at 9:08 AM

  6. Sweet, sweet face.


    November 5, 2016 at 9:24 AM

  7. Are you sure this was a wooly bear? I know them as the caterpillar of the Isabella tiger moth, and their front and back portions are black and their midsections a rich, golden brown; also, they are more stubby and not tufted like this one: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Pyrrharctia-isabella. Whatever, a very striking image!


    November 5, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    • I can’t vouch for much when it comes to identifying insects. I have the impression that people use the common name woolly bear for various caterpillars. Whatever this one was, I’m glad to have photographed it and to have rediscovered my photographs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 6, 2016 at 12:06 AM

      • I wonder if this caterpillar could be Estigmene acrea, the salt marsh moth.

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 6, 2016 at 9:12 AM

        • Entirely possible as its range, habitat and widely varied food plants all fit the location you found it in. Did you get more than this headshot?

          Steve Gingold

          November 6, 2016 at 9:20 AM

          • I assume you already looked here, but just in case….http://bugguide.net/node/view/3242

            Steve Gingold

            November 6, 2016 at 9:20 AM

          • I may well have, but I’m in southern California this morning and can’t check my archive.

            Happy Standard Time, by the way.

            Steve Schwartzman

            November 6, 2016 at 9:30 AM

            • Actually was able to lie in bed and read for a while this a.m. as I still woke at 4 now 3. Does the time change in CA or Austin? I think most of the country observes DST except maybe for AZ.

              Steve Gingold

              November 6, 2016 at 11:52 AM

              • Right. We had to deal with Arizona differently on the way out compared to the beginning of the way back home. Until today Arizona was on the same time as California. Today it’s an hour later than California. I wish everyone stayed on standard time all year round.

                Steve Schwartzman

                November 6, 2016 at 11:51 PM

  8. Fantastic macro!
    Have a great weekend,


    November 5, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    • For once I’m closer to Interstate 10 than you are, except I’m currently near the part of the highway in Palm Sprigs, California.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 6, 2016 at 12:10 AM

  9. What a wonderful image! Strange and beautiful shapes and colours.

    anna warren portfolio

    November 5, 2016 at 10:23 PM

  10. That is such a great photo!


    November 6, 2016 at 9:31 PM

  11. He looks like he made contact with an electrical outlet. Not only is his hair standing on end, he has a rather surprised expression on his cute little face.

    I must have a thing for caterpillars. The first thing that came to mind was the Big Green Guy that I enjoy so much. I’m thinking this would make a great companion piece for the photo I already have.

    Speaking of photos, at the Clear Lake NPSOT chapter board meeting last night (yes, we actually have formed our new chapter) one of the members pulled out a bundle of startup materials the state office sent along, and there was a bundle of the magazine that has your sumac photos and articles. It was fun to see.


    November 8, 2016 at 7:06 PM

    • It seems you do indeed have a thing for caterpillars, so here’s a bit of interesting etymology:


      Congratulations on your new NPSOT chapter.

      Speaking of sumac, that was the only fall foliage (and not much, either) that I saw today near Guadalupe Mountains National Park. We were told that more color was available inside the park but the sky was overcast and we got there too late in the day to take either of the recommended walks. You know what it’s like when nature doesn’t cooperate.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 10, 2016 at 12:30 AM

  12. Is it the kind of caterpillar you would find unforgettable if you touched it?


    November 9, 2016 at 5:23 AM

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