Wisconsin Native Caterpillars
Identification Guide

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar, Papilio glaucus

Did you find a caterpillar nibbling on a plant in your garden? Want to find out more about that guest?

Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. It is the second part of their four-stage life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, adult).

Caterpillars can change dramatically from when they first hatch to when they're ready to pupate. Caterpillars come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Some can increase their body mass 10,000-fold in just a few weeks - many look very different as they grow.

Here are 50 of the species that you are most like to identify in Wisconsin.

Click on an image to find the details about that caterpillar or select a caterpillar name from the drop-down box on the left.

Acadian Hairstreak, Satyrium acadica, caterpillar
Acadian Hairstreak
American Lady, Vanessa virginiensis, caterpillar
American Lady
Baltimore Checkerspot, Euphydryas phaeton, caterpillar
Baltimore checkerspot
Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes, caterpillar
Black Swallowtail
Bronze Copper, Lycaena hyllus, caterpillar
Bronze Copper
Brown Elfin, Callaphrys augustinus, caterpillar
Brown Elfin
Cabbage White, Pieris rapae, caterpillar
Cabbage White
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio canadensis, caterpillar
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
Clouded Sulphur, Colias philodice, caterpillar
Clouded Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae, caterpillar
Cloudless Sulphur
Common Branded Skipper, Hesperia comma, caterpillar
Common Branded Skipper
Common Buckeye, Junonia  coenia, caterpillar
Common Buckeye
Common Sootywing, Pholisora catullus, caterpillar
Common Sootywing
Common Wood-Nymph, Cercyonis pegala, caterpillar
Common Wood-Nymph
Common Tortoiseshell, Nymphalis vaualbum, caterpillar
Common Tortoiseshell
Coral Hairstreak, Satyrium titus,  caterpillar
Coral Hairstreak
Dainty Sulphur, Nathalis iole, caterpillar
Dainty Sulphur
Dreamy Duskywing, Erynnis icelus,  caterpillar
Dreamy Duskywing
Dun Skipper, Euphyes vestris, caterpillar
Dun Skipper
Eastern Comma ,Polygonia comma, caterpillar
Eastern Comma
Eastern Tailed Blue, Cupido comyntas, caterpillar
Eastern Tailed Blue
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus, caterpillar
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Edwards Hairstreak, Satyrium edwardsii, caterpillar
Edwards Hairstreak
Fiery Skipper, Hylephila phyleus, caterpillar
Fiery Skipper
Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes, caterpillar
Giant Swallowtail
Gray Comma, Polygonia progne, caterpillar
Gray Comma
Gray Hairstreak,Strymon melinus,  caterpillar
Gray Hairstreak
Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele, caterpillar
Great Spangled Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, caterpillar
Gulf Fritillary
Henrys Elfin, Callaphrys henrici, caterpillar
Henrys Elfin
Juvenals Duskywing, Erynnis juvenalis, caterpillar
Juvenals Duskywing
Least Skipper, Ancloxypha numitor, caterpillar
Least Skipper
Little Wood Satyr, Megisto cymela, caterpillar
Little Wood Satyr
Little Yellow, Eurema lisa, caterpillar
LittleYellow
Monarch, Danaus plexippus, caterpillar
Monarch
Mourning Cloak, Nymphalis antiopa, caterpillar
Mourning Cloak
Northern Pearly-Eye, Enodia anthedon, caterpillar
Northern Pearly-Eye
Orange Sulphur, Colias eurytheme, caterpillar
Orange Sulphur
Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui, caterpillar
Painted Lady
Pearl Crescent, Phyciodes tharos, caterpillar
Pearl Crescent
Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor, caterpillar
Pipevine Swallowtail
Queen, Danaus gilippus, caterpillar
Queen
Question Mark, Polygonia interrogationis, caterpillar
Question Mark
Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, caterpillar
Red Admiral
Red-Spotted Purple, Leminitis arthemis astyanax, caterpillar
Red-Spotted Purple
Silver-Spotted Skipper, Epargyreus clarus, caterpillar
Silver-Spotted Skipper
Sleepy Duskywing, Erynnis brizo, caterpillar
Sleepy Duskywing
Spicebush Swallowtail, Papilio trailus, caterpillar
Spicebush Swallowtail
Spring Azure, Celastrina ladon, caterpillar
Spring Azure
Viceroy, Leminitis archippus, caterpillar
Viceroy
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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