Wisconsin Native Caterpillars

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Eastern Tailed Blue Caterpillar

Genus-Species: Cupido comyntas

Description: Caterpillars are variable in color: may be green; green and red; mostly red. There is a dorsal stripe and lateral lines. Body is covered with fine white hairs. The head is black.

Chrysalis: Pellet-shaped. Color varies: may be whitish green with darker head and thorax; dark green; tan.

Host Plants: Legumes (Fabaceae) including Wild Lupines (Lupinus perennis), American and Carolina Vetch (Vicia americana and V. Caroliniana), Beach Pea (Lathyrus japonicus), White Pea (Lathyrus ochroleucus), Marsh Pea (Lathyrus palustris), Veiny Pea (Lathyrus venosus), and Tick Trefoils (Desmodium canadense, D. glutinosum, D. illinoense, D. nudiflorum) note: caterpillars overwinter in the seed pods

Habitat: Open, often disturbed areas, prairie restorations, and city parks.

Comments: The Eastern Tailed Blue is the most commonly seen Blue in the state. It is found throughout the state from May though October. Although all the Blues may do some puddling, this species seems to be more prone to congregating in groups at moist areas along ponds and streams.

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.

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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

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.

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