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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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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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Subject: Horny catipiller
Location: North Carolina coast
October 7, 2014 3:33 pm
What is this my daughter found it and was playing with it
Signature: Ryan

Pre-Pupal Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Pre-Pupal Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Ryan,
This is a Pre-Pupal Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar, and though they feed on other plants, they are especially fond of Pentas, so we suspect there are some growning nearby.  This individual is likely searching for a good place to dig beneath the surface so it can pupate.  See BugGuide images of the metamorphosis of a Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar.

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Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Location:  Waynesville, OH
October 6, 2014
Caveats: NONE
Is this a huckleberry or walnut moth?
Kimberly Baker CIG
Park Ranger
Caesar Creek Lake
Louisville District
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Blinded Sphinx Caterpillar

Blinded Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Kimberly,
In our opinion, this is the Caterpillar of a Blinded Sphinx,
Paonias excaecata, and you can compare your image to this image on BugGuide.

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Subject: Cigar Caterpillar
Location: Austria, 47°11’00.76″ N 15°29’22.96″ E
October 4, 2014 10:27 pm
Greetings from Austria!
I found this caterpillar on Sunday, September28 near Graz, Austria. The temperature was in the 60s and it seemed to be lumbering along the street, perhaps looking for a place to wrap itself up for the winter. The area is mountainous (ca. 2300 ft) with mixed deciduous and coniferous trees. The caterpillar was about four inches long, and I wondered if the spots at the head would be translated into the moth (?) it would become.
Thanks for being bug liaisons!
Signature: N. Fritz

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear N. Fritz,
This interesting caterpillar is an Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Deilephila elpenor, and according to the UK Moth site:  “The English name of this moth is derived from the caterpillar’s fanciful resemblance to an elephant’s trunk.   The adults are attractively coloured pink and green affairs, with a streamlined appearance. They fly from May to July, visiting flowers such as honeysuckle (Lonicera) for nectar.  The larvae feed mainly on rosebay willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium), but also other plants as well, including bedstraw (Galium).”  According to Made By Mother Eagle:  “When startled, the caterpillar draws its trunk into its foremost body segment. This posture resembles a snake with a large head and four large eye-like patches. Caterpillars are preyed upon by birds, but these shy away (at least for some time) from caterpillars in “snake” pose. It is not known whether the birds take the caterpillar to actually resemble a snake, or are frightened by the sudden change of a familiar prey item into an unusual and boldly-patterned shape.”

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