Hackberry emperor

Brush-footed butterflies, fritillaries and wood nymphs

Link to Caterpillars in Your Yard and Garden Hackberry emperor caterpillars (Asterocampa celtis) are present from early summer to fall. They produce two generations per year.

Full-grown caterpillars are one to 1.5 inches long. The body is yellow to green with longitudinal to oblique white-yellow stripes on the sides of most body segments. Two barbed horns arise from the green head and a pair of pointed projections from the end of the body. From the base of each horn and running the length of the granulose body to the abdominal tips is a white-yellow line bordered by shades of dark green. Between these parallel lines in the center of the back is an inconspicuous yellow line. The host plant is hackberry (occasionally a serious pest).

About the family

Brush-footed butterflies, fritillaries and wood nymphs belong to the Nymphalidae family. Caterpillars have variable color patterns ranging from longitudinal stripes to mimicking a bird dropping. Most species are covered with prominent spines and tubercles.