What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I know the pictures are bad. But I’m hoping you can i.d. this guy (there are actually five on the plant) munching on our silver buttonwood. It’s sort of orange with a darker orange broad band going down the length of its back. It has a creamy colored head. Any ideas? Thank you! I love your site!

Hi Joseph,
Based on assumptions we have made, this could be an Arrow Sphinx, Lophostethus dumolinii, if you live in South Africa. Your photo is of a Sphinx Moth Caterpillar, and we typed sphinx and buttonwood into a google search and came up with a species that feeds on that tree. We found a photo of the adult moth, but not the caterpillar, so we might not be right, especially since we don’t know from what part of the world you wrote.

We figured it was some sort of a Sphinx moth, but we are actually in South Florida. Do you have any other guesses based on our region?

A new web search led us to this bit of information about Silver Buttonwood: “Occasional larval host plant for martial hairstreak (Strymon martialis) butterflies and Tantalus Sphinx (Aellopus tantalus) moths.” Sadly, we couldn’t locate an image of the larva online to verify that it is your caterpillar.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

2 Responses to If in Florida, possibly the Tantalus Sphinx, Maybe Arrow Sphinx Caterpillar in questionably South Africa

  1. Bostjan Dvorak says:

    It is an Erinnyis ello – caterpillar, but in a rather unusual colour morph; I was first confused by its shape and almost guessed Daphnis nerii (which can also occur in a similar orange coloration) could have spread by ships over the Atlantic in the meantime – and live on a new host in Florida… Bill Oehlke also shows a photo of a green morph on the silver buttonwood on his site; the eye-spot is well hidden in eating position. Amazing picture of a fascinating animal – and plant!

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