Caterpillar Identification Guide

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Common Name: Mourning Cloak

Genus-Species: Nymphalis antiopa

Host Plants: Willows including Black willow (Salix nigra), and Silky willow (S. sericea); also American elm (Ulmus americana), Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Aspen (P. tremuloides), Paper birch (Betula papyrifera), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Habitat: Woodlands, woodland edges, parks, and rarely (despite the photos) in open fields taking nectar.

Comments: Although it is usually seen singly, the Mourning Cloak is a fairly common butterfly throughout Wisconsin and one that should be expected in every county.