What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

black horned caterpillar
Hi there,
I ran across this crazy looking specimen today fly- fishing in south-western Alberta on the HIGHWOOD river. It was approximately 2.5 inches long. I thought it was weird that it was sunning itself on a rock a couple of feet from the river. I saw on the site that another person encountered one in British Columbia, but you couldn’t identify it. Have you had any luck since?

Hi Mark,
Thanks to your letter we did more research and turned to Bill Oehlke’s site. We located what we are 99% sure is your caterpillar, the Bedstraw Hawkmoth. Caterpillars are very variable in coloration. The Bedstraw Hawkmoth or Gallium Sphinx, Sphinx gallii ranges throughout Canada as well as much of Europe. Oehlke writes: “Larvae, which were smooth, shiny, and predominantly black, grew extremely rapidly. They reminded me of warm, black licorice strips in that they were shiny, long and thin, and did not seem to have or exercise much longitudinal muscle strength. “

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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