Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 4:20 AM
I thought I picked two brown caterpillars with fake eyes from my mother’s penta plant in Sun City Florida yesterday. When I opened the jar to photograph them this morning, I had two browns and two greens, all with false eyes. I never kill bugs without knowing what they are but I can’t find these in my caterpillar book.
Both the green caterpillars and the brown caterpillars are the same species. The Tersa Sphinx, like many other Sphinx Moths, have caterpillars in different colors. These different morphs probably aid in the survival of the species. Predators that notice the brown caterpillars may not notice the green individuals just inches away. To see images of the adult moth and to read more about the Tersa Sphinx, Xylophanes tersa, you can search Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.
Thank you so much! I gave the caterpillars to a friend with a lot of penta and a six-year-old grandaughter who loves bugs — she’ll take good care of them 🙂