Arctic woolly bear caterpillar

Arctic woolly bear caterpillar

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Credit: LOUISE MURRAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Arctic woolly bear moth caterpillar (Gynaephora groenlandica). This species of moth (order: Lepidoptera) lives up to 14 years as a caterpillar before pupating into a moth that lives for one summer. It is only found in the high arctic and survives sub zero temperatures by hibernating during the cold season, which can last up to 10 months of the year. The caterpillar produces anti-freeze proteins that prevents its cells from freezing completely. During the summer months, it basks in the sun and feeds on vegetation. The body is covered with long hairs (setae) that minimise heat loss. Photographed in Nunavut, Canada.

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Keywords: animal, anti-freeze, antifreeze, arctic, arctic caterpillar, arctic circle, arctic fauna, arctic moth, arctic wildlife, biological, biology, bristles, canada, canadian, caterpillar, cold-tolerant, cryoprotectant, entomology, extreme animal, extreme cold, gynaephora groenlandica, hair, hairs, hairy, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, larva, larval, moth, nature, north america, nunavut, order lepidoptera, setae, wildlife, woolly bear caterpillar, woolly bear moth, wooly bear, zoological, zoology

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