What Is the Life Cycle of the Woolly Caterpillar?

A woolly bear caterpillar hatches from an egg, spend several months as a larva, and then spins a cocoon and pupates. It finally emerges as a tiger moth.

Woolly bear caterpillars hatch from eggs laid by adult female tiger moths. Eggs typically take five to 12 days to hatch. After the caterpillar hatches, it spends several months eating, growing and shedding its skin.

Caterpillars shed their outer layer, or exoskeleton, about five times. This is called molting, and the stage between molting is called an instar. After its last molt, a woolly bear caterpillar spins a loose cocoon and pupates for a few months. Eventually, it emerges from its cocoon as a tiger moth.