What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
August 13, 2011 5:03 pm
Ok I live in fairbanks Alaska it’s almost fall/our winter so you don’t really see all that many bugs around. But we found this guy he’s about 3in long brown with yellow spots and a spine tail thing and his head was the little thing.
Signature: ~Tif

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Tif,
Your caterpillar is a Hornworm, the common name given to the caterpillars of the Hawkmoths or Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae.  Hornworm is a reference to the caudal horn which most all members of the family possess.  When we are trying to identify New World Sphingiids, we generally turn to the easily searchable Sphingidae of the Americas Website where you can search by country and state.  There are only five species reported in Alaska, which makes the search quite simple.  This is the Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and the Sphingidae of the Americas site indicates:  “Hyles gallii ranges coast to coast in Canada (into the Yukon) and southward along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It is also widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.”  One might think that with only five species of Sphinx Moths in Alaska, identification of this caterpillar would be easy, but the identification is complicated by the variations in color among caterpillars, including a green variation and a black morph.  You can see a photo of the adult Bedstraw Hawkmoth from our archives.

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

18 Responses to Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Alaska

  1. heather430524 says:

    Can someone please tell me why or how I had one of these guys in my driveway when they’re suppose to be native to Alaska and I live in northeast Pa.

  2. Kim says:

    Is the Bedstraw Hawkmoth poisonous?

  3. Emilia says:

    My friend sent me a photo of this caterpillar today. It was very pink/purple as it has been feeding on a profusely growing plant called Fireweed.

    Thank you for providing an ID

  4. Laurie says:

    I saw a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar crawling across my car port in Greer, SC… was surprised to see it come from Alaska… So glad I looked it up… strange looking caterpillar.

  5. Kim says:

    I just saw one of these in my driveway and I live in NH…….very unique looking caterpillar!

  6. Kathy says:

    I just found one of these bedstraw Hawk moths caterpillars in Chautauqua County in Western New York. Funny the name bedstraw since our fields are being taken over by bedstraw plant. It would be nice if they were to eat all the bed straw in our fields.

  7. Rusty says:

    7/22/19 we have several in our yard, all eating on the fireweed. They seem to love the stuff. But we’ve lived on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska since the mid 60’s, and this is the first I’ve seen them.

  8. Rudetia says:

    My neighbor just found one in Nikiski, AK. maybe they’re migrating.
    We haven’t seen any before, caterpillars or moths.

  9. Cat says:

    Fascinating little critter this far north of the Arctic Circle in Kotzebue, AK.

  10. Cat says:

    Woodstock VT

    Just crossed paths with this caterpillar…

  11. Holly Lombardi says:

    Union, Maine We have one that is very aggressive and keeps returning to our patio from the field we have located it to twice. Have killed many of the green tomato hornworms in our greenhouse but see no reason to kill this one. Will it harm farm plants/veggies/fruit?

  12. Srsmmyr says:

    I just crossed paths with one today in Fletcher, Vermont.

  13. Lee says:

    Picked a rather fat one of these up yesterday in Waterbury CT

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