Wisconsin Native Caterpillars

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Dreamy Duskywing Caterpillar

Genus-Species: Erynnis icelus

Description: The green caterpillar has a yellow lateral stripe. The body is covered with small white tubercles and short hairs. The brown head is strongly angled and has bright orange dots along its margins.

Chrysalis: The chrysalis is brown or dark green.

Host Plants: Willows, Poplars

Habitat: Dreamy Duskywings host plants are mainly willows and poplar in Wisconsin, and as such are often found in moister habitats than the Sleepy Duskywing. But they can be found, especially when they are nectaring, in many of the same drier habitats where Sleepy Duskywings are found. In several other states, they may also use oaks as a host plants, so more study is needed to see if they may use oak species in Wisconsin.

Comments: Nine species of Duskywings have been found in Wisconsin. From a distance of 20 yards, without binoculars, they are all essentially indistinguishable little black skippers. On closer inspection, the Dreamy and Sleepy can easily be distinguished from the others by a lack of white spots in the forewing. Technically this is incorrect, as the Dreamy Duskywing sometimes has a single white spot, which is lacking in the Sleepy Duskywing, although this doesn’t mean that these species are then easily distinguishable from each other.

Adult Butterfly Profile
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.

Bees flying footer graphic