Caterpillar Identification Guide

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

American Lady

Genus-Species: Vanessa virginiensis

Host Plants: Plants in the sunflower family: Sweet everlasting (Gnaphalium obtusifolium), Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), Plantain-leaved pussy toes (Antennaria plantaginifolia), and Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata).

Habitat: Found in a variety of open habitats including old fields, meadows, and roadsides where their major host plants, Pussytoes and Pearly Everlasting, are found.

Comments: The American Lady, Painted Lady, and the Red Admiral are all very familiar butterflies throughout the United States, but despite their abundance and wide distribution there is still confusion about their migration and ability to overwinter in the northern states such as Wisconsin.

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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.

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How does this magic happen? Learn about metamorphosis - the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult bitterfly.