Currently viewing the category: "Hornworms"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bugman Help!
Location: Singapore
August 28, 2014 3:11 am
Hello! I love reading your page! Its so informative! :) I found this 2cm long, thin green caterpillar with 1 horn at the end on an unknown plant. Im from Singapore, a tropical country with hot, humid and seasonal rain. Hope you can enlighten me on its species because i have searched it on the net but to no avail. Thanks n God bless! :)
Signature: EmikoJ

Hornworm

Hornworm

Dear EmikoJ,
The best we can do for you at this time is provide a family.  This is a Hornworm, the larva of a Sphinx Moth in the family Sphingidae, a family that contains many large spectacular species found around the world.  It is young, which makes identifications more difficult.  Like all caterpillars, Hornworms molt and grow, passing through five instars or stages.  The fifth instar is the largest and the one most commonly pictured for identification purposes.  Earlier instars like this individual are generally more difficult to find documented.  This individual is green with no pronounced markings to help differentiate it from other species.  Knowing the plant it was feeding on might help with the identification.  If you have the time and inclination, you can try searching the Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic to attempt an identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Successful Identification
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 21, 2014
Tobacco hornworm according to whats that bug! Can’t believe how much it likes hot peppers. There were two of them and they decimated the leaves and chomped a couple of hot peppers. Yuck.
That was a big ugly bug! I’m glad it’s identified, but there were two of them. What if there are more?!?
Sent from outer space.

Tobacco Hornworm

Tobacco Hornworm

Dear Lisa Anne,
We are happy you were able to make use of the extensive WTB? archive to identify your Tobacco Hornworm.  We generally get several on our tomato plants toward the end of the season and we allow them to eat as many leaves as they want, and the do occasionally eat unripe tomatoes, but since we cannot possibly eat all the tomatoes we grow, we don’t fret.  If you find you cannot abide these Tobacco Hornworms eating your pepper leaves, you can try transferring them to native Datura that grows in nearby Elyria Canyon Park.  The adult Carolina Sphinx is a large and impressive moth.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug
Location: Southampton england UK
August 17, 2014 7:13 pm
My friend found this in her garden and wondered what it was and if it could be eating her fushias
Signature: Liz

Found it i think. An elephant hawk moth caterpillar

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Liz,
You are correct that this is an Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Deilephila elpenor, and according to our research on UK Safari:  “The caterpillars feed on bedstraws, willowherbs and in gardens they feed on fuchsias.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillars on the march
Location: Northern Arizona
August 17, 2014 5:36 pm
This afternoon we discovered thousands (no, I’m not kidding -THOUSANDS-) of these caterpillars
traveling south across our property. Of course we went straight to the garden to see if that’s where they were coming from, but they were coming right through the fence from the State Land Trust to the north of us! Some of them were nibbling on leaves near the chicken pen, but none of them bothered any of the plants in the garden. We scooped up a bunch of them for this photo and then tossed them to the chickens. The chickens were not impressed.
We’re in Prescott, AZ at about 5,000 ft elevation in oak-chapparal country.
Signature: gnatknees

Population Explosion of Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars

Population Explosion of Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars

Dear gnatknees,
These are caterpillars of the Whitelined Sphinx,
Hyles lineata, and they go through periodic cycles that include occasional population explosions in the desert regions of the American southwest.  The last major population explosion we received visual documentation of was in 2007.  Earlier this year, we received a request from a PhD candidate from the University of Arizona to report any masses of caterpillars, and if you are so inclined, you can email cfrancois@email.arizona.edu and make a report.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth
Location: North America. Missouri
August 15, 2014 12:58 pm
What type if moth will emerge? How long will it take?
Signature: Thank you Rebecca Byrne

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars

Hi Rebecca,
If possible, please let us know which plant these Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars were feeding upon.  This is a highly variable caterpillar, and in addition to green individuals like the ones you submitted, some Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars are yellow and some Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars are black.  This is an edible species of caterpillar and it is found in all 48 continental states.  We are curious about the food plant as there is such a large variety of plants that can serve as larval foods.  Whitelined Sphinxes are especially numerous in the American southwest, and some years see tremendous explosions in the population numbers of both the larvae and the adults.  Whitelined Sphinxes are large and very pretty moths that are frequently attracted to lights.  We cropped your second image to show a fresh pupa on the right and a caterpillar nearing the moment of pupation on the left.  We expect metamorphosis will be complete within a month, though at the end of the year in colder climates, the pupa may pass the winter and emerge in the spring.

Whitelined Sphinx Pupa (right) and caterpillar nearing pupation.

Whitelined Sphinx Pupa (right) and caterpillar nearing pupation.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What type of catipillar?
Location: Burlington county New Jersey
August 7, 2014 11:01 am
I lived in NJ all my life and have never seen this type of caterpillar. Today I found 3 of them in my backyard. The largest one I found floating in my pool. Each one I found was dead. What type are they? Are there any concerns I should have as I have children and a dog running around in the yard. I don’t have any gardens.
Signature: Monica

Four Horned Sphinx

Four Horned Sphinx

Dear Monica,
This is a Four Horned Sphinx or Elm Sphinx,
Ceratomia amyntor, the caterpillar of a moth in the family Sphingidae.  The common name refers to the four horns behind the head of the caterpillar, and it ignores the caudal horn which is a trait shared with most caterpillars in the family.  We are very curious what might have cause the demise of three individuals in such a short period of time.  The Four Horned Sphinx is a harmless species, despite its somewhat fearsome appearance.  Perhaps you have a nearby elm tree that is serving as food for the Elm Sphinx as it is also called.  In addition to elm, according to the Sphingidae of the Amercias site, the caterpillars feed on “birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) and cherry (Prunus).”  Living Four Horned Sphinx caterpillars are much more attractive than dead ones, and as you can see from this image, the Four Horned Sphinx is very well camouflaged while feeding.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination