catapillar found in Haiti
February 5, 2010
A friend of mine is working relief in Haiti right now. They came across this little caterpillar when he said all of the locals helping him jumped back after spotting it. He can’t speak the same language to find out why. But he wants to know if this is a harmful caterpillar at all.
Thanks for your time. Ryan Zwicker.
If you can submit additional photos from different angles, it may facilitate a more exact identification. This is most certainly the caterpillar of a Sphinx Moth in the family Sphingidae, and it is perfectly harmless. Sphinx Moth Caterpillars are frequently called Hornworms because many species have a caudal horn. We went to Bill Oehlke’s website, where we always go for Sphinx identifications, and we searched the species index for Haiti. Though we could not find an exact match, the form and markings of this caterpillar most closely approximate species in the genus Erinnyis. There is much variability in these caterpillars with regards to coloration, and many species have both brown and green forms as well as other variations. Some possibilities from Bill Oehlke’s website are Erinnyis alope, Erinnyis crameri, and Erinnyis ello. We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can be more conclusive.
I just wanted to say thank you for the response. Seeing how my friend is doing relief work i’m not sure he will be able to provide any more pictures of one. He only had the one i know of. The information you provided was great, my wife and i spent quite a bit of time looking last night trying to figure it out, but we don’t have any knowledge of bugs in any form so we thought we’d ask people who do when we came across your website. Thanks again for the help. If anything else comes of it we’d love to know. If the little guy is harmless, we’re still not sure why the locals jumped back, other then it just being a bug. lol.
Thanks again, We really appreciate it.