Caterpillar Identification Guide

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

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.

Bog Fritillary, Boloria eunomia

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Find instructions on how to design a butterfly-friendly habitat including a catalog of favorite flowers guaranteed to attract butterflies.

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

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