Wisconsin Native Caterpillars
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar
Genus-Species: Papilio glaucus
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: Wild cherry (Prunus species), Magnolia or
Cucumber tree (Magnolia species), Basswood (Tilia americana), Tulip tree (Liriodendron
tulipifera), Birch (Betula species), Ash (Fraxinus species), Cottonwood (Populus species),
American mountain ash (Sorbus americana), and Willow (Salix species).
Habitat: Wooded areas and open areas near woodlands.
Comments: The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a very
common and conspicuous butterfly of southern Wisconsin.
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.