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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Brush-footed Butterflies (Family Nymphalidae)

Although a large family, few brush-footed butterflies feed on forest trees and shrubs. Those that do sport hard, branched, thickened spines called scoli, which challenge the gullets of their would-be predators. They tend to be large-headed, at least relative to width of the first thoracic segment. The body is covered with numerous setae especially below the level of the spiracles. The crochets—of 1, 2, or most commonly 3 lengths—are arranged in series that parallels the body axis. Coloration is highly variable, especially across different regions of the country.

Caterpillar Thumbnail
Tawny Emperor

(Asterocampa clyton)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Diana Fritillary

(Speyeria diana)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Red-spotted Purple

(Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Mourning Cloak

(Nymphalis antiopa)
Caterpillar Thumbnail

(Polygonia comma)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Question Mark

(Polygonia interrogationis)

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Next Section -- Hairstreaks, Blues, and Coppers (Family Lycaenidae)

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