abbott sphinx moth caterpillar
July 7, 2010
Hello, I notice you have a number of photos of Abbott Sphinx Moth caterpillars. I would like to share these photos I took last summer of one I found in my sister’s garden while removing some overgrown wild grape vines in case they are useful to you. Thank you for all the additional information you have provided on this site!
I was amazed at how chubby this caterpillar was and the noise it made at me. I photographed it on my gardening gloves to give it some scale. Hope this may be useful to you.
I enjoy photographing bugs and am glad to have found your site.
London, Ontario, Canada
Your photos are great. They clearly show the caudal bump on the rump end of the caterpillar. Most Sphinx Moth caterpillars have a caudal horn, giving rise to the common name Hornworm for the Caterpillars. The Abbott’s Sphinx, Sphecodina abbotti, loses its horn after the initial instars, and it is left with this bump that resembles an eye. Eyespots like this are known as ocelli, a term that is also used for primitive eyes found on many insects. BugGuide has a nice explanation of ocelli. The ocellus on the Abbott’s Sphinx may confuse and startle a predator like a bird into thinking that the succulent caterpillar might be a threatening snake. Your photos nicely illustrate how the Abbott’s Sphinx Caterpillar might be confused for a snake.