Funky Orange Caterpillar
Location: Sydney, Australia
January 26, 2012 6:19 am
We found this little guy roving around our back deck, celebrating Australia day in style. It was a slightly brighter orange colour than the photo shows. Just wondering what it might be? Obviously some kind of hornworm but I couldn’t see any entries already on your site depicting something that looked the same.
Signature: Many thanks, Bridget.
We quickly identified your caterpillar as a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, but we had to expend some effort to properly identify it. There are many possibilities of Sphingidae on the Butterfly House website, and the thumbnails are often so small that we need to visit the individual pages. At first we thought we had identified your caterpillar as Hippontion celerio, but the Butterfly House images show a much more delicate caudal horn. A much better match is Theretra latreillii on Butterfly House, which states: “Normally the eyespot is hidden by a fold in the skin of the first abdominal segment, and the spot is only displayed when the animal is disturbed. Indeed when the skin is folded, the head and prothorax look like the upper jaw, and the first set of legs like the lower jaw, of some much larger beast, which may deter predators.” The Brisbane Insect website identifies the adult as the Pale Brown Hawk Moth.