Great website- I was wondering if you could help me id these to caterpillars. The first (with yellow spiky balls) was found on a orange tree in South Texas. The other is from an unknown plant, again in South Texas. Thanks,

Rothschildia forbesi Xylophanes pluto

Hi there Lee,
We are very excited to have identified both of your South Texas caterpillars. The one found on the orange tree is in the genus Rothschildia. Rothschildia forbesi is found in Texas, but Bugguide lists the caterpillar host plants as “several trees/shrubs, such as Ash, Fraxinus, prickly ash, Zanthoxylum, and willow, Salix.” The site goes on with the information that “Two other species in this genus rarely enter into SE Texas: Jorulla silkmoth (R. jorulla) and Orizaba silkmoth (R. orizaba).” We cannot find a photo of either species caterpillar, nor indication of its food plant. The other caterpillar is a Sphinx Moth, Xylophanes pluto. We located information and images on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website. There are three known color morphs for the caterpillar, and your example is the green morph.

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