Caterpillar Identification Guide

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Black Swallowtail

Genus-Species: Papilio polyxenes

Host Plants: Alexanders - Heart-leaved golden alexander (Zizia aptera), Golden alexander (Zizia aurea), Yellow pimpernel (Taenidia integerrima), Sweet cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii), Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) and Angelica (Angelica atropurpurea)

Habitat: Open areas; fields, meadows and parks where its larval hosts are found.

Comments: The Black Swallowtail is a common butterfly in Wisconsin. It commonly feeds on many different members of the Parsley family, including parsley, carrots, dill, and parsnip. It may also feed on Common Rue (Ruta graveolens), a domesticated herb.

Bog Fritillary, Boloria eunomia

Caterpillar Anatomy: A Tutorial

Caterpillars come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Some caterpillars are quite hairy, while others are smooth. Despite differences between species, though, all caterpillars share certain morphological features.

Bee Quiz Graphic

Caterpillar Quiz

Take this quick quiz and see how much you know about caterpillars. This quiz is intended for fun, in a random-facts-can-be-cool kind of way.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus

How Caterpillars Change Into Butterflies

How does this magic happen? Learn about metamorphosis - the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult bitterfly.