Currently viewing the category: "moth caterpillars"
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Subject: caterpillar
Location: Northwest Houston, TX
October 24, 2014 5:51 am
I found this in a parking lot in Houston, TX. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen anything like it. It looks like some of the Sphinx Moth caterpillars I’ve seen in Google Image Search, but it doesn’t quite match any of them. Could you help me identify it?
Signature: Jeremy

Hornworm

Hornworm

Hi Jeremy,
We agree that this is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, even though it appears to be lacking a horn.  Our first impulse was that this resembles a pre-pupal Waved Sphinx Caterpillar, but the lack of a horn and the orientation of the light slashes behind the spiracles and running from front to back in orientation would eliminate that as a correct identification.
  A prepupal Modest Sphinx Caterpillar pictured on Sphingidae of the Americas also has the white slash marks oriented the opposite direction.  As we must leave for work now, we are going to write to Bill Oehlke to get his assistance.  We wonder if it might be an unusually colored Ficus Sphinx, Pachylia ficus.

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Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar

Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar

Subject: Huge caterpillar found in Costa Rica
Location: Zona Norte, San Carlos, Costa Rica
October 17, 2014 11:10 am
Hi. I live in the Zona Norte in Costa Rica. Two nights ago, I found a huge green caterpillar crawling in our yard. It was 4-5 inches long and about 2.5 inches in diameter. It didn’t appear to have any hair or spines, or, if it did, they were very short. It also appeared to have narrow, yellow bands. The underside was black, I think. It rather looked like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. In the picture, it’s next to a full size Maglite to give perspective. It made a cocoon the next day. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated.
Signature: Lacey

Saturniidae Cocoon

Saturniid Cocoon

Hi Lacey,
While we are unable to provide you with an exact species, we can tell you that this is a Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar in the family Saturniidae.
  Adult Giant Silkmoths are often large and spectacular looking.

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Pre-Pupal Hornworm, we believe

Pre-Pupal Modest Sphinx Caterpillar, we believe

Subject: Green tubular bug
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, Rio Grande Valley
October 15, 2014 6:48 am
Found this in the sand under a tree that has had a moth infestation. Facebook friends say it is a tomato hornworm, but it has no horns or spots and is a long way from the garden.
Signature: Emily

Dear Emily,
In our opinion, this is a pre-pupal Caterpillar in the family Sphingidae, and it is burying itself in the ground prior to pupation.  As you mentioned, there are no obvious features apparent.  If you provide us with a side view and the name of the tree you found it under, we will pursue this identification.

Thanks for the quick response! I can’t find another one, but it was under a cottonwood tree. I will look again later today.
The tree has been suffering from a tent caterpillar infestation.

Thanks for the quick response.  This is not a Tent Caterpillar, but since the host tree is a cottonwood, we believe this is in the genus Pachysphinx, most likely a Big Poplar Sphinx or Modest Sphinx caterpillar which is pictured on the Sphingidae of the Americas site.

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Ello Sphinx Caterpillar

Ello Sphinx Caterpillar

Subject: Caterpillar in San Diego
Location: San Diego
October 13, 2014 2:32 pm
I was out harvesting the last of our peppers when I heard something rustling through the leaves. I look for it expecting a lizard when I find this caterpillar moving across the ground at warp speed. I’ve seen a lot of caterpillars in our yard, but this is the first time I’ve seen one like this. I’m hoping someone can tell me what it is. Thxs!
Signature: Amit

Hi Amit,
This is an Ello Sphinx Caterpillar, and we confirmed the identification on the Sphingidae of the Americas website where it lists the food plants as:  “Larvae feed on papaya (Carica papaya) in the Caricaceae family and on Cnidoscolus angustidens and other plants in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) including poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), guava (Psidium species) in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) and on also saffron plum (Bumelia angustifolia/Bumelia celastrina) in the Sapotaceae family. : EUPHORBIACEAE. Manilkara bahamensis has also been reported as a host as have Willow Bustic (Bumelia salicifolia) and Painted Leaf (Poinsettia heterophylla).”
  We are guessing you may have a nearby papaya tree, or perhaps a guava.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for the identification!  Yes, we have a guava tree in our yard, which is loaded with fruit right now.
Great service your site provides!
Amit

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Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Stinging Slug Caterpillar

Subject: is this stinging slug bug
Location: kukke subramanya, Karnataka, India
October 11, 2014 12:46 am
dear Mr. Bugman
me and my friends had been to trekking and we happened to come across this particular slug.
i was wondering if you could give me a clear idea as to what it exactly is and if the species has been identified .
we found this bug in Kumara parvata, kukke subramanya, karnataka , India
Signature: Aditya

Dear Aditya,
You are correct that this is a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae, but we are not having much luck with a species identification.  Your individual looks similar to, but not exactly like, this Stinging Slug Caterpillar from China on FlickR.
  It also looks similar to this Wattle Cup Caterpillar, Calcarifera ordinata , that is pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website.

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Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Subject: large caterpillar swimming
Location: Western Kentucky
October 10, 2014 1:33 pm
I had never seen a caterpillar swim before. We were walking along a creek when we saw this large caterpillar “swimming”. It would bend it’s self almost in half to the left, then straighten out, then bend in the opposite direction and straighten out. It propelled it’s self through the water this way. It crawled along a leaf and stick, then set off swimming again for the bank. It was the size of a tobacco horn worm, but much more colorful. I have gone through several pages of your caterpillars and can find nothing close to this one. It was very colorful in the striping, and had a red head, can you tell me what it was, and which one of the large silk moths or sphinx moths it will become? It was seen In Western Kentucky in September of this year (2014)
PS: I have sent this picture and request twice before with no response. I am sending it again as I really want to know what it was.
Signature: Janet Fox

Hi Janet,
First we want to apologize for not responding on your first two attempts.  We really do have a skeleton crew and we do not have the man power to respond to every request.  Even if we did not have gainful employment forcing us to leave our comfortable home office, we still would not be able to effectively respond to all the mail we receive.  Had we known that you had such an exceptional image of a Banded Sphinx Caterpillar to accompany your unusual sighting, you would most certainly have gotten a response on your first attempt.  The Banded Sphinx Caterpillar,
Eumorpha fasciatus, is a variably colored and marked caterpillar with this particular bold and colorful pattern being the most memorable.  You can see more images and read more about the life history of the Banded Sphinx on the Sphingidae of the United States site.  The adult Banded Sphinx is a gorgeous moth.  This is the second account we have received of Banded Sphinx Caterpillars found in water.  We wonder if they are subject to parasites that cause them to drown themselves like Potato Bugs have when infected with Horsehair Worms.

Daniel,
Thank you for helping me identify my swimmer.  I thought it would have had to have been a silk moth or sphinx moth due to it’s size.
I had never seen one swim before.  I was so amazed, later I kicked myself for not taking a video of it instead of still shots.
Live and learn.  Next time, if I ever see another one swim, I will video it.
Thanks again.
Janet Fox

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