What did I dig up?
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
November 6, 2010 12:09 am
When planting some bulbs a couple of weeks ago, I dug up this pupa. It was in a weedy area with a couple of milkweed plants, among a lot of catnip and other minor weeds. It was also nearby some lilacs. It weighs 5g and I think it is still alive. The only caterpillars I’ve seen in the area have been monarchs.
This is the Pupa of one of the Hawkmoths in the family Sphingidae. The Caterpillars are often called Hornworms because of the caudal horn, or Sphinxes because they assume a pose reminiscent of the Egyptian Sphinx. We normally don’t try to identify Pupae found underground to the species level as that is really beyond our means, but since this was a garden, and perhaps there may have been tomato plants growing nearby, this may be the Pupa of a Five Spotted Hawkmoth, Manduca quinquemaculata, which may be seen on the Sphingidae of the Americas website, or the Carolina Sphinx, Manduca sexta, which may be viewed on BugGuide. Both species have caterpillars that feed on the leaves of tomato plants, both pupate underground, and both have sheaths for their long proboscis which causes the pupa to resemble a jug with a handle.