We came across this caterpillar while doing some yard work around our pond in Tampa, Florida. My 6-year-old son loves your web site, so he was very excited about sending his first picture in to have a bug identified. Your help will be appreciated!
J & L
Hi J & L,
This is a The Banded Sphinx Moth, Eumorpha fasciatus fasciatus. This caterpillar has highly variable coloration, and yours is one of the reddest we have seen. The caterpillar also feeds on a variety of plants. Bill Oehlke, in his wonderful site devoted to Sphinx Moths, lists the following food plants: ” Seasonvine/Possum grape, Hybrid fuchsia, Upright Primrose Willow, Yerba de jicotea, Anglestem primrose willow, Mexican primrose-willow, Peruvian Primrose-willow, Red ludwigia, Sweetbay magnolia/Swamp magnolia, Virginia creeper, and Grape”