What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Strange Caterpillar
Location: Olathe, Kansas
October 3, 2011 7:22 pm
We saw this caterpillar today in the parking lot of a local nature center. No one in our group had ever seen one like it before. It was about three to four inches long and about half an inch thick.
We tried to shift it onto a piece of paper to move it into the grass; it reacted by violently wriggling side to side, almost like a snake. (We stopped trying and left it alone.)
Any idea what it is?
Signature: Joyce and Josh

White-Lined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Joyce and Josh,
This is the highly variable caterpillar of the White Lined Sphinx or Striped Morning Sphinx,
Hyles lineata.  In addition to this black form, some individuals are green and others are yellow.  The caterpillars of the White-Lined Sphinx are edible.

Thanks very much for the information!  We appreciate it but we will not be eating any White-Lined Sphinx caterpillars anytime soon.

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

2 Responses to White-Lined Sphinx Caterpillar

  1. Steve Carras says:

    Wow..edible? I wonder what they taste like and if they need to be cooked (NOT kidding with the question..)

    • bugman says:

      According to Desert Museum: “Known as makkum by the O’odham People, these caterpillars are bright yellow or green with longitudinal black stripes and lateral red dots. Fully grown, they are about three inches in length. … Tohono O’odham men, women, and children collected makkum during the caterpillar’s wandering pre-pupation phase. After removing the head and viscera, the larvae were traditionally roasted over hot coals and either eaten immediately,”

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