What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what is this?
Location: Honolulu Manoa Valley
July 3, 2011 3:20 pm
Found this caterpillar in my yard in Manoa Valley in Honolulu, Hawaii in some ginger and monstera and next to a crown flowers tree.
Signature: Beth

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Beth,
The Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Agrius cingulata, is also found throughout much of North, Central and South America and it was most likely introduced to Hawaii.  The caterpillar is highly variable, and the Sphingidae of the Americas website does not depict this particular variation on the standard species page, however is you scroll down the Sphingidae of the Americas Hawaii page, you will see an example of this color variation.

Thanks for the quick identification! Am checking the sites you mention and googling others to see what else I can learn about this caterpillar. I see it is also referred to as the sweet potato hawkmoth. Do they feed on sweet potato? I am growing a lot of sweet potatoes in my garden. But I found this one over by my ginger. Also near my crown flower tree. I know the monarchs like the crown flower.
Do you know what this species eats? Or anything more about their life cycle.

Hi again Beth,
According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas), jimsonweed (Datura spp.), pawpaw (Asimina spp.), and other plants in the Potato (Solanaceae) and Morning-glory (Convolvulaceae) families.  Adults take nectar from deep-throated flowers such as morning-glory (Convolvulus spp).”

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

8 Responses to Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Hawaii

  1. Crayola says:

    RE: Honolulu, HI hawk moth caterpillars. I have many of the same on my Morning Glories in Kaimuki near Kapahulu 1.jpeg/Users/MariaMcClellan/Desktop/securedownload.jpeg

  2. G says:

    just found the same caterpillar in my sweet potato bucket! Looked it up and found your image- same markings as the one you posted- green with brown markings like twigs down the sides! What did you do with yours? We don’t know whether it will form a chrysalis or if it is poisonous!

  3. G says:

    and we are on Oahu, HI

  4. tony holt says:

    I just found one of these on my Arechia Palm in Mililani. Do they eat things other than sweet potato?

    • bugman says:

      According to Sphingidae of the Americas: “Larvae feed on plants in the Convolvulaceae family, especially Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato) and in the Solanaceae family, especially (Datura) (jimsonweed) and related plants in the Americas.” According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas), jimsonweed (Datura spp.), pawpaw (Asimina spp.), and other plants in the Potato (Solanaceae) and Morning-glory (Convolvulaceae) families.” If you found the caterpillar on a palm, it was either a different species or it was not feeding.

  5. Kau'ionalani Moses says:

    Hi everyone we found one in our sweet potatoes patch. They are creepy looking and was worried about it attacking us in the middle of the night while we sleep, but after reading a few comments we will out it back in the yard to pupate.

  6. Barrett Honda says:

    Now you can add it to Maui’s list in Haiku.

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