what is this?
Location: Honolulu Manoa Valley
July 3, 2011 3:20 pm
Found this caterpillar in my yard in Manoa Valley in Honolulu, Hawaii in some ginger and monstera and next to a crown flowers tree.
The Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar, Agrius cingulata, is also found throughout much of North, Central and South America and it was most likely introduced to Hawaii. The caterpillar is highly variable, and the Sphingidae of the Americas website does not depict this particular variation on the standard species page, however is you scroll down the Sphingidae of the Americas Hawaii page, you will see an example of this color variation.
Thanks for the quick identification! Am checking the sites you mention and googling others to see what else I can learn about this caterpillar. I see it is also referred to as the sweet potato hawkmoth. Do they feed on sweet potato? I am growing a lot of sweet potatoes in my garden. But I found this one over by my ginger. Also near my crown flower tree. I know the monarchs like the crown flower.
Do you know what this species eats? Or anything more about their life cycle.
Hi again Beth,
According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas), jimsonweed (Datura spp.), pawpaw (Asimina spp.), and other plants in the Potato (Solanaceae) and Morning-glory (Convolvulaceae) families. Adults take nectar from deep-throated flowers such as morning-glory (Convolvulus spp).”