Wisconsin Native Caterpillars

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Question Mark Caterpillar

Genus-Species: Polygonia interrogationis

Description: Gray-black with orange and cream stripes and spots, as well as several rows of branched spines.

Chrysalis: Mottled gray-brown. Silver spots on thorax. Two rows of short, sharp projections on abdomen. Resembles are crumpled, dead leaf.

Host Plants: American Elm Red Elm, Hackberry, Japanese Hop, Nettles and False Nettles.

Habitat: Found in a wide variety of habitats, including backyards, parks, and woodland edges, especially along woodland trails.

Comments: The Question Mark is slightly larger than the other “punctuation” butterflies in Wisconsin, but otherwise very similar. This is a very well known butterfly, found throughout Wisconsin, but is fairly uncommon.

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