Currently viewing the category: "Hornworms"
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Subject: Unidentified Caterpillar
Location: South Africa
April 15, 2015 1:19 am
Hello Bugman,
I found this Caterpillar on my Cape Goose Berry plant. I live in South Africa and we are now in very late Autumn. What type of caterpillar is this? Is it harmful to my plants? Does it turn into an endangered butterfly or moth after metamorphosis? Should I get rid of it or is it harmless?
Many thanks,
Signature: Andrea Joubert

Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Andrea,
This is a Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar and it will eventually metamorphose into a Death’s Head
Hawkmoth, Acherontia atropos, a species most recognizable because it was used to illustrate the blockbuster movie poster for Silence of the Lambs.  The moth is not endangered.  A single caterpillar on a plant will eat the leaves, which does not permanently damage the plant unless it is very young or otherwise compromised.  A healthy plant will resprout leaves.

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Subject: caterpillar?
Location: Jacksonville Fl
April 11, 2015 5:10 pm
My mom found this caterpillar and was wondering what it turned into, it was found on the banks of the St. Johns river just south of Jacksonville Florida today.
Signature: Josh

Bald Cypress Sphinx Caterpillar

Cypress Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Josh,
We are very excited about your submission.  We quickly identified your Hornworm as a Cypress Sphinx Caterpillar,
Isoparce cupressi, thanks to some excellent images on the Sphingidae of the Americas site where it states:  “the rare Cypress Sphinx (Wing span: 2 3/8 – 2 9/16 inches (6 – 6.5 cm)), flies in Cypress swamps in Georgia (specimen type locality), and from Maryland to Texas. It has been reported in Mexico.  This species is threatened due to destruction of habitat.”  We are copying Bill Oehlke who runs that site and we hope you will also grant him permission to post your image.

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Subject:  a few more “bug photos” you might enjoy
Location:  Anza-Borrego Desert
March 2015
There were quite a few white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) caterpillars out in the Anza-Borrego desert during the wildflower bloom in early March of this year. We found there is quite a lot of variation in caterpillar patterns and eye color (note the green and orange-red eyes in the photo below).
Kind regards,
Lori in Altadena, CA

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars

Thanks for sending us some additional images Lori.  We are posting your image of Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars because we have been receiving numerous identification requests from Southern California in recent weeks.  In the future, please use our standard submission form located upon clicking the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Catapiller
Location: Lancaster , California
April 8, 2015 9:53 pm
Hi, my friend found a catapiller , took a picture of it and sent it to me. I would like to know what the name of it is and what the name of the butterfly it turns into is name. Thank you .
Signature: Girl with questions, Allie

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Allie,
This is a Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar,
Hyles lineata, and we believe that despite the drought, this is going to be a year with significant numbers of Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars in desert areas because rains were well distributed, contributing to plant growth in the desert.  Adult Whitelined Sphinxes are streamlined moths that are often mistaken for hummingbirds.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Trona, CA.
April 4, 2015 5:41 pm
Dear Bugman,
Long time!
Here we have a photo of a specimen we saw out at the Trona Pinnacles, roughly 20 miles east of Ridgecrest, CA. Approximately 2″ long, these critters were everywhere! Is the horn dangerous? What kind of butterfly do they (possibly) evolve into?
Thanks again!
Signature: Tomas Arceo

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Tomas,
This is the caterpillar of a Whitelined Sphinx,
Hyles lineata, a species that periodically has tremendous population explosions in desert areas that often coincide with years when desert blooms also peak.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
February 27, 2015 3:44 am
We found this caterpillar in our garden today -late summer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have never seen anything like it. Would love to know what it is. Many thanks!
Signature: Elizabeth

Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Elizabeth,
Though you may have never seen one before, the Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Acherontia atropos, is a relatively common species in South Africa.

Daniel, thank you so much for your help!  Just to let you know, we carefully relocated the creature to an uncultivated verge further down our road so it is safe and well and not tempted to eat any more Arum Lilies.  Best regards, Elizabeth.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination