Caterpillar Identification Guide

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Common Name: Baltimore Checkerspot

Genus-Species: Euphydryas phaeton

Host Plants: Plants where eggs are laid and that caterpillars eat before hibernating are Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus) and False foxglove (Aureolaria species). After overwintering, caterpillars may continue to use these plants, but may also wander and feed on unrelated plants including Arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum), Canadian lousewort or Wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), and White ash (Fraxinus americana)

Habitat: Open wet meadows where its host plant turtlehead grows, and adjacent uplands where it may often be found nectaring on black-eyed susan, milkweeds, thistles, or other nectar sources. The turtlehead generally blooms only after the Baltimore Checkerspot is finished flying, which may complicate your search.

Comments: The Baltimore Checkerspot is one of the most distinctive butterfly species in Wisconsin and is unlikely to be confused with any other butterfly. It is always a pleasure to see fresh Baltimore Checkerspots flying through the wet meadows where