Wisconsin Native Caterpillars

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

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.

Adult Butterfly Profile
Bog Fritillary, Boloria eunomia

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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.

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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

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

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