Walking, flying, catapulting, or perhaps snug in a cocoon, a gall, eggs, or even your home, arthropods are all around us in winter. Arthropods are animals whose bodies are covered with a tough outer shell, an exoskeleton. This exoskeleton is divided into segments that allow the critter to move. Arthropods include not only insects, but also centipedes, crustaceans (e.g. crayfish, sowbugs, fairy shrimp), and arachnids (e.g. spiders, ticks, and mites).

Be on the lookout for arthropods this winter with a game of bingo! Download the bingo board here and look below for a description of the arthropods on the board. Check out other arthropods on the snow in the iNaturalist project and explore other bingo boards here.

Green spider 

The Green Long-jawed Orbweaver are also known as “stretch spiders” – they can straighten themselves into a thin line with four legs in front and four legs in back. 

Male spider with enlarged pedipalps

Male spiders have punching glove-like bulbous pedipalps (small projections from mouth) they use to transfer sperm.

Flying Arthropod

Male winter crane flies form bouncy swarms when it is above freezing.


Cecropia caterpillars overwinter in a silken three-inch long tan cocoon that they attach lengthwise to a branch or stem.  


The flightless female rusty tussock moth lays up to several hundred eggs on top of her empty cocoon.

Snow Fleas

Snow fleas are a type of springtail and can catapult themselves 100 times their body length. These 1/16-of-an-inch long creatures look like pepper on snow on warm days and are active year-round in the leaf litter.


Goldenrod Ball Gall Fly larvae spend the winter in ball-shaped galls (abnormal plant growths that house and provide food for a variety of insects).

Arthropod inside

Asian Lady Beetles congregate in warm spots inside during the winter. They can be red to orange and have 0-22 black spots. 

Silk and leaf shelter

The larva of the Pine Tube Moth use silk and several pine needles to form their tubular home. They feed on the tips of the tube’s needles and overwinter as a pupa inside the tube.

One thought on “Arthropods in Winter Bingo

  1. I’ve noticed a few of these recently while leading programming with elementary school kids- I wasn’t sure how to answer one question about if the gall bug was living in the gall over the winter, or what exactly was the creepy looking cecropia moth cocoon. It’s so exciting to have these answers. Now I want to go out and look for the rest of them. The Wednesday Four Winds newsletter is one of the highlights of my week!

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