Wisconsin Native Caterpillars
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar
Genus-Species: Papilio canadensis
Description: Young caterpillars are brownish-black
with a white “saddle” which makes them resemble bird droppings. Later instars are bright
green with small eyespots behind the true head, enabling them to resemble a snake.
Immediately before pupation, caterpillar color changes from green to brown.
Chrysalis: The chrysalis is either mottled brown or
green, depending on the time of year and the structure to which it is attached. Brown chrysalides
usually occur in the fall and overwinter.
Host Plants: Leaves of various plants including wild
cherry (Prunus species), Birch (Betula species), Aspen (Populus species), and possibly American
mountain ash (Sorbus americana) and Showy mountain ash (Sorbus decora)
Habitat: Wooded areas, and open areas near
Comments: The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is a very
common and conspicuous butterfly of northern Wisconsin. It is replaced in the south by its close
relative, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
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.
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.
How does this magic happen? Learn about metamorphosis - the process of transformation from an
immature form to an adult bitterfly.