Wisconsin Native Caterpillars

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Fiery Skipper Caterpillar

Genus-Species: Hylephila phyleus

Description: The caterpillars are variable in coloration but usually are brown with a darker middorsal stripe and two darker mid-lateral stripes. The head is dark brown.

Chrysalis: The chrysalis is light beige to yellowish brown with a dark dorsal stripe and two dark lines of dorsolateral dashes behind the head..

Host Plants: Larvae have been known to feed on Cynodon dactylon (Bermudagrass), Paspalum sp. (dallisgrass), Stenotaphrum secundatum (St. Augustinegrass), Digitaria sanguinalis (hairy crabgrass), Agrostis sp. (bentgrass), Eragrostis hypnoides (teal lovegrass), Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass), Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane), and Axponopus compressus (broadleaf carpetgrass).

Habitat: Old fields, roadsides, and flower gardens.

Comments: The Fiery Skipper is a common species throughout the southern U.S. and moves north nearly every year. It probably arrives in Wisconsin regularly, though it is not usually very common, and should be looked for in the southern half of the state from late July through the first frost.

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