What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Caterpillar id?
Location: belle vernon, pa
June 16, 2011 2:43 pm
I was just wondering what these caterpillars are and if they’re toxic or not. We have thousands here on a large bush and when I noticed them one struck at me. And my 2 year old son plays around and under the bush and I need to know what I should do.. leave them be or remove the bush?
But still I would love to know what they are because they’re quite beautiful.
Signature: Savannah Chamberlain

Catalpa Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Savannah,
This is the caterpillar of a Catalpa Sphinx,
Ceratomia catalpae.  The excellent Sphingidae of the Americas website does not have any examples of caterpillars with markings like your individual, however, they do state:  “Colouration of mature larvae is somewhat variable, and there appear to be two primary color phases, dark and pale.  In the dark phase, there is a broad, solid black band down the back, bordered by white lines. The sides are yellowish with some black spots and vertical lines.”   BugGuide does have a photo of a Catalpa Sphinx with your coloration.  They are not toxic and they pose no threat.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Pennsylvania

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