This gallery pairs photos of some common caterpillars on their respective host plants with photos of the adult butterfly. Without providing native host plants, we would not be able to support reproducing populations of these lovely creatures. (All photos taken by Carolyn onsite at Flying Trillium Gardens and Preserve. )
This Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar is consuming the host plant for which it was named. Those false eye spots can fool birds into thinking it’s a snake.
Here is the adult Spicebush Swallowtail nectaring on butterfly milkweed.
An American Lady butterfly laid her eggs on these pussytoes, one of just a few host plants, all members of the aster family.
American Lady butterfly shown here nectaring on Joe pye flowers.
This tiny saddle-backed Red-Spotted Purple caterpillar is consuming young black cherry leaves, a favorite host plant.
Red-Spotted Purple adult taking nectar from tall white asters.
Tall white aster, Aster umbellatus, is the sole host plant for this pretty Baltimore checkerspot caterpillar.
The lovely adult Baltimore Checkerspot rests here on a birch seedling.
The egg from which this caterpillar hatched was deposited on Ptelea trifoliata, hoptree, one of many host plants used by Tiger Swallowtails.
One of our most common butterflies, Tiger Swallowtails are important pollinators for flame azaleas. This one is gathering nectar from a Monarda flower.
Here the Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar dines on the host plant for which it is named.
This striking adult Pipevine Swallowtail is taking nectar from Joe pye flowers.
Closely related to the Red-spotted Purple, the Viceroy caterpillar is seen here on an aspen seedling, one of its more common host plants.
The adult Viceroy impersonates the Monarch butterfly, fooling predators into thinking it is poisonous like the Monarch.
This amazing Question Mark caterpillar (looking positively dangerous with all those barbed spikes), is shown consuming its host plant, American elm.
The beautiful Question Mark butterfly deposits her eggs on American elm or hackberry, and sometimes nettles.