Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
December 21, 2011 12:26 pm
I believe this is a Sphinx Moth. It is feeding on Crown of Thorns. I’ve seen them over the summer before, but never in December.
PS. LOVE your site. Thank you
Signature: Anthony Argenti
Thanks for the compliment. We believe we have correctly identified your caterpillar as an Ello Sphinx, Erinnyis ello. We did the original identification based on information on the Sphingidae of the Americas website which indicates that they feed on plants in the family Euphorbiaceae which include poinsettia and crown of thorns. The caterpillar is also reported to be quite variable in coloration. BugGuidenotes: “Larval characters: (2) Horn reduced to a low point, arising from an elevated angular hump. In the last instar, the horn is reduced to a nub. Eyespot over the third thoracic segment is hidden in the resting caterpillar. Ornately banded thoracic and prolegs. Length to 7cm. Erinnyis spp. caterpillars come in a seemingly endless variety. ”
One of your photos shows the ornately banded thoracic legs.