Wisconsin Native Caterpillars
Baltimore Checkerspot Caterpillar
Genus-Species: Euphydryas phaeton
Description: Dusky orange with black stripe and several
rows of branched black spines. Front and rear segments are black.
Chrysalis: Creamy white with orange and black markings.
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