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Subject: Caterpillar in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Location: Bocas del Toro, Panama
April 9, 2014 1:11 pm
Hi. I found this caterpillar in my front yard near Almirante, Bocas del Toro Province, Panama (on the mainland across from Isla Pastor). We’re right next to a mangrove swamp and a rainforest, but I unfortunately don’t know what plant the caterpillar is on. It was spotted April 4, 2014 around 10:00 in the morning. I haven’t been able to determine what type of caterpillar it is, but I do love how it looks like it’s boxings an invisible nemesis!
Signature: Elizabeth

Unknown Caterpillar

Erinnyis species Caterpillar

Hi Elizabeth,
Your photos are gorgeous and this caterpillar is magnificent, and we wanted to post your images prior to identifying it.  Our first thought is a member of the family Sphingidae, the Hornworms which metamorphose into Hawkmoths, and our second guess if family Saturniidae, the Giant Silkmoths.  We tried searching some of the possibilities on the Sphingidae of Panama site, but without any luck, so we have contacted Bill Oehlke who runs that site and who specializes in both Sphingidae and Saturniidae.  We hope to hear something conclusive from his very soon.  In the meantime, we need to get a few more tomato plants in the ground.

Unknown Caterpillar

Erinnyis species Caterpillar

WTB? Contacts Bill Oehlke
Hi Bill,
These gorgeous photos of a gorgeous caterpillar just arrived.  The sighting was “Almirante, Bocas del Toro Province, Panama (on the mainland across from Isla Pastor). We’re right next to a mangrove swamp and a rainforest.”
I tried the Eumorpha in Panama first because of the stubby horn, but many do not include caterpillar images, and I also checked some of the Dilophonotini because the prolegs remind me of a tetrio sphinx.  I thought you might recognize this beauty.
DanielDaniel,
I think yucantana would be much less likely than one of the other Erinnyis species, but I would not rule it out as a possibility.
Bill

Bill Oehlke narrows the possibilities:
Daniel,
It appears to be one of the Erinnyis species. There are many of them in Panama, and they can be quite variable. The anal horn in this genus becomes quite reduced in the final instar.
I believe you are right that it is one of the Dilophonotini. There are other genera in this tribe that also have the stubby horn. I simply do not have images of them for comparison.
Bill

Hi again Elizabeth,
Bill Oehlke agrees with our assessment that this Hornworm or Sphinx Caterpillar is likely in the tribe Dilophonotini, and be believes it is in the genus
Erinnyis, but he does not have caterpillar images of all the species.  The stubby horn and markings on the prolegs are similar the characteristics of the highly variable larva of the Ello Sphinx, Erinnyis ello, and one of the caterpillars pictured on the Sphingidae of Panama site looks similar.  An image on the Government of Bermuda Ministry of Public Works Department of Conservation Services  website Bermuda Conservation page of the Ello Sphinx Caterpillar also exhibits those similarities.  There are also Ello Sphinx Hornworms pictured on BugGuide that look similar.  So, our conclusion, with the assistance of Bill Oehlke, is that this caterpillar is in the genus Erinnyis, and it might be the highly variable caterpillar of an Ello Sphinx, or it may be a closely related species in the genus that is not as well known without images of the caterpillar readily available.

Ed. Note:  April 10, 2014
Thanks to a comment from Bostjan Dvorak, we now believe this is
Erinnyis yucatana, and more information can be located at Sphingidae of the Americas.

Bill Oehlke’s Opinion
Daniel,
I think yucantana would be much less likely than one of the other Erinnyis species, but I would not rule it out as a possibility.
Bill

Thanks! I was having no luck finding pages for caterpillar identification, so this really helps. You guys are awesome and I love the website. I’ll have to ask my husband about the plant as I have no idea what type it is. Once I find that out I’ll post the answer. Thanks again.
Elizabeth

 

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Subject: Spiny caterpillar
Location: Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
March 27, 2014 3:26 pm
We came across this large spiny/fleshy caterpillar (being eaten by ants) in the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica at the end of the dry season (middle of March). It was about 3 inches long. Do you know what it would have become?
Signature: Alison

Ants eat Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar

Ants eat Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Alison,
Alas, this caterpillar appears to have already become all that it will become, food for Ants.  Were it not attacked, it should have transformed into one of the Giant Silkmoths in the family Saturniidae and the subfamily Hemileucinae, though we have not had any luck verifying the actual species.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to get his opinion.

Daniel,
Only a guess. Automeris postalbida. Color might be off due to near death.
Please always ask for more precise location before sending images. Saves me
time in looking things up. Different species, often very similar, can often
come from different locations. If I know location I might only have to
search through five files instead of fifty as I have species checklists for
most of South and Central America down to one level below national level..
Thanks for thinking of me.
Bill

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar in Uruguay
Location: Uruguay
March 20, 2014 12:16 pm
I came across this amazing caterpillar in Uruguay in February. It was about 2 inches long. I would love to know what it would become. Thank you for your help.
Martin Summers
Signature: Martin Summers

Giant Silkworm:  Eacles species

Giant Silkworm: Eacles species

Dear Martin,
Your caterpillar bears an uncanny resemblance to a North American Imperial Moth Caterpillar, and we strongly suspect your caterpillar is in the same genus,
Eacles.  We believe it might be Eacles imperialis magnifica, which would make it a subspecies of our North American Imperial Moth.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to get his opinion, and we hope if he asks, you allow him to post your photograph to his own comprehensive website.

Dear Daniel,
I am most grateful to you and I concur with your identification that it would turn into an Eacles Imperialis Magnifica ( what a magnificent name ). By all means use my photograph.
Many thanks,
Martin

Bill Oehlke Concurs
Daniel,
Yes, It is Eacles imperialis magnifica. Please see if you can find out a more precise location in Uruguay and forward that info to me as I would like to record it.
Bill

March 26, 2014
Dear Daniel,
Here is the location where I found this amazing caterpillar on Feb 26th 2014. I have a house and a large garden there and we are blessed with an amazing variety of Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars and occasional huge swarms of Dragonflies. As you can imagine it is paradise for the birds.
Many thanks for your help and if I may, I might ask you for more identification as and when I find more exotic caterpillars.
Kind regards,
Martin

Map of Uruguay

Map of Uruguay

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird pod I’m hoping will hatch a wonderful creature
Location: Brooklyn, NY
March 1, 2014 2:38 pm
Hi Bugman–
Yesterday my daughter and I found this strange pod under some oak trees in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY. It looks like some kind of cocoon–it has an imprint of a leaf on what seems like a hardened foamy surface. We’ve had a lot of storms lately so all kinds of things have been shaken lose from trees. It’s about two inches long.
Also, if it is some kind of cocoon, how should I care for it?
Signature: Carol Vinzant, editor, animaltourism.com

Cecropia Moth Cocoon

Cecropia Moth Cocoon

Dear Carol,
If it is viable, this Giant Silk Moth Cocoon will produce a gorgeous once the weather warms.  Keeping it indoors with warmth due to artificial heat will cause it to eclose early and result in a sterile death without reproduction. Giant Silkmoths only live long enough to mate and lay eggs, and they have atrophied mothparts, so they can’t even eat.  We believe this is either the cocoon of a Luna Moth or of a Polyphemus Moth.

Wow, that’s fantastic! I can’t wait to see what happens.
I didn’t understand from your message if I should keep it indoors or out. Right now it’s in a sheltered area with outdoor temperatures. When do they hatch?
Carol Vinzant

We don’t know what the ambient temperature needs to be before eclosion will occur, but we suspect it will hatch in the spring.

Great, thanks for all your help.
I blogged about the cocoon and your answer here: http://animaltourism.com/news/2014/03/13/what-to-do-with-cocoons-falling-from-late-winter-trees
Carol Vinzant
animaltourism.com

Thanks for the kind website plug Carol.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Northern Namibia
January 27, 2014 12:38 am
Hi
I need the name of this caterpillar. They are feeding mainly on Accia meliffera .
Signature: Duane Rudman

Giant Silkworm

Marbled Emperor Caterpillar

Hi Duane,
This is either a Western Marbled Emperor, Heniocha dyops, or a closely related species.  We will try checking with Bill Oehlke to verify our identification.  According to Kirby Wolfe:  “That’s what the mirror-like ‘spines’ are for, to break up the light so the caterpillar can hide in the sparse,  Acacia foliage.”

Thank you very much!!!!!
Regards
Duane

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: orange caterpillar
Location: Flux canyon, Arizona
January 14, 2014 9:34 am
Hi….
I’ve scrolled around the internet a lot and so far have not found a pic of this caterpillar.
It was crawling around high grasses in Flux Canyon, southern Arizona….near the town of Patagonia.
I saw it in October…..
Signature: Susan Warner

Oslar's Oakworm

Oslar’s Oakworm

Hi Susan,
We quickly identified this Caterpillar’s family as the Giant Silkworms, Saturniidae, and once we established that, identifying this striking caterpillar as Oslar’s Oakworm,
Anisota oslari, on BugGuide did not take long.  According to BugGuide:  “Larva – last instars are brick red” and “Larvae are known to feed on oaks, including Mexican blue oak (Quercus oblongifolia), scrub oak (Q. turbinella), and Emory oak (Q. emoryi) .”  There are several species in the genus in the eastern US including the Orange Striped Oakworm

Oslar's Oakworm

Oslar’s Oakworm

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination