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Wisconsin Native Caterpillars

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Great Spangled Fritillary Caterpillar

Genus-Species: Speyeria cybele

Description: Large, velvety black caterillars have several rows of black spines with red/orange bases. Caterpillars also have a bulb-shaped osmeteria-like gland located under the head. It emits a musky odor if the caterpillar is alarmed. First instar caterpillars look like tiny black fuzz balls.

Chrysalis: Chunky and brown. Hangs in a loosely constructed silken tent.

Host Plants: Various Violet species (Viola species).

Habitat: Open fields and woodland edges. Can be found in both wet and dry habitats.

Comments: The Great Spangled Fritillary is found throughout the state from late June through August and into early September. The species is long-lived and many individuals that are found in late August and September are very worn with frayed and even missing parts and wings. They are often seen at nectar sources such as Common Milkweed, thistles, or Joe-Pye-Weed alongside the Aphrodite Fritillary in the southern part of the state, and in the northern counties with the Atlantis Fritillary.

Adult Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly Profile
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