What kind of butterfly or moth is this caterpillarit?
September 10, 2009
We have a buttlerfly garden and while weeding in an overgrown area we came across several blue green on top and green on underside caterpillars. They had 1 horn on the tail that is not deadly and when touched, it was soft not hard. Has single yellowgreen strip down each side with strip becoming white as it nears head area on sides. Has 2 small black spots encircled in yellow/white on upper back with a red spot on the side next to each black spot. Measures 3.5 – 4.0 inches. No fur, very smooth skin texture. No ripples or contours on body. We searched our field guide and the web with no results. Also posted picture on face book with no positive results.
Any help would be appreciated., Thanks, Ken Jewett
South Florida, United States
These are Sphinx Moth Caterpillars in the genus Erinnyis, most probably Erinnyis ello, the Ello Sphinx, based on photos on Bill Oehlke’s awesome website. We would not entirely discount the possibility that it might be Erinnyis alope, also pictured on Bill Oehlke’s website. Sphinx Moth Caterpillars are called Hornworms. Here is a list of food plants that Bill Oehlke associates with the Ello Sphinx: “Larvae feed on papaya (Carica papaya) in the Caricaceae family and on Cnidoscolus angustidens and other plants in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) including poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), guava (Psidium species) in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) and on also saffron plum (Bumelia angustifolia/Bumelia celastrina) in the Sapotaceae family. : EUPHORBIACEAE. Manilkara bahamensis has also been reported as a host as have Willow Bustic (Bumelia salicifolia) and Painted Leaf (Poinsettia heterophylla).“