Caterpillar Identification Guide

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Common Name: Red-Spotted Purple

Genus-Species: Leminitis arthemis astyanax

Host Plants: Leaves of many species of trees and shrubs including Wild cherry (Prunus species), Aspen and Cottonwood (Populus species), Oaks (Quercus species), Hawthorn (Crataegus species), Birch (Betula species), Willows (Salix species), Basswood (Tilia americana), and Shadbush or Serviceberry (Amelanchier species)

Habitat: Forest edges and openings, and roadsides and trails through wooded areas.

Comments: The Red-spotted Purple is a common butterfly in the southern half of Wisconsin. Throughout central Wisconsin, this subspecies and the White Admiral are both present, and sometimes they hybridize. The offspring can have characteristics anywhere between the two subspecies. This butterfly is often found taking nutrients from gravel roads, roadsides, or scat.