Wisconsin Native Caterpillars
Eastern Comma Caterpillar
Genus-Species: Polygonia comma
Description: Variable in color: black to greenish brown
with a white band and several rows of pale, branched spines.
Chrysalis: The gray to brown chrysalis is distinctive in
having 2 rows of gold or silver projections on the surface of the abdomen.
Host Plants: All members of the elm and nettle families
including American elm, Hops, Nettle, False Nettle and Wood Nettle.
Habitat: A woodland species that is most often seen
along woodland edges and trails.
Comments: The Eastern Comma is the most common
of the commas and is found throughout the state. Adults of this species hibernate and appear on
warm sunny days in the early spring, even when there is still snow present. Eastern Commas
were once called Hop Merchants because of their caterpillars' affinity for hop vines. According
to legend, if pupal spikes are gold, hop prices will rise. If they are silver, prices will plummet.
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.