Wisconsin Native Caterpillars
American Lady Caterpillar
Genus-Species: Vanessa virginiensis
Description: Variable in color: Greenish yellow
with narrow black rings; black with creamy rings. Dark, branched spines are red at the
base. There is a pair of white spots on each segment.
Chrysalis: Color varies: gray or various degrees
of gold and brown. A wide dark line extends from head to tail. There are rows of triangular
projections tipped with black dots as well as black dots on other parts of the chrysalis.
Host Plants: Plants in the sunflower family: Sweet
everlasting (Gnaphalium obtusifolium), Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), Plantain-leaved
pussy toes (Antennaria plantaginifolia), and Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata).
Habitat: Found in a variety of open habitats including old fields, meadows, and roadsides where their major
host plants, Pussytoes and Pearly Everlasting, are found.
Comments: The American Lady, Painted Lady, and the Red Admiral are all very familiar butterflies throughout
the United States, but despite their abundance and wide distribution there is still confusion about
their migration and ability to overwinter in the northern states such as Wisconsin.