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.
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.