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
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.