Wisconsin Native Caterpillars

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Genus-Species: Papilio cresphontes

Description: Larvae strongly resemble bird droppings. Exact patterns change as caterpillars molt and grow, but they retain the basic brown with cream-and-white patches coloration. Fully grown caterpillars look like small brown snakes when viewed head-on.

Chrysalis: Crusty brown. Resembles a broken twig.

Host Plants: Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) and Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)

Habitat: Woodlands and open areas near woodlands, where the larval host plant, Prickly Ash, is found.

Comments: The Giant Swallowtail is an uncommon stray in most parts of Wisconsin.

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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