Location: Chon Buri, Thailand
March 16, 2012 11:17 pm
I am doing a science inquiry project for First Graders in Thailand. This caterpillar was eating my new plants (pic of plant attached). I kept one to show my students and we are all very excited to see that it has formed its chrysalis.
I’d like to know what butterfly/moth this is and how long it will be before it’s free to fly.
Thank you so much.
Pictures taken by me March 7, 2012 in Chon Buri, Thailand.
Signature: Teacher Becky
Your caterpillar will metamorphose into an Oleander Hawkmoth, Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii. The caterpillars feed primarily on the leaves of oleander, though according to the Sphingidae of the Americas website (the Oleander Hawkmoth has been introduced into Hawaii): “Minor hostplants are Vinca, Vitis, Gardenia, Asclepias, Jasminum, Trachelospermum, Amsonia, Carissa, Tabernaemontana, Mangifera, Rhazya, Adenium, Catharanthus, Ipomoea and Thevetia. Larvae will also feed on Ligustrum ovalifolium in captivity.” The range of this Mediterranean and North African moth has expanded, probably due to the cultivation of its food plant, and we have gotten reports from Thailand in the past.
Update: Eclosion of Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
March 22, 2012
Hi there! It’s with much fanfare that our caterpillar has emerged. We were surprised at how long it hung around (we think drying its wings). Picture attached.
Thank you so much for your help in our classroom.
Living in Thailand, I anticipate we’ll have a lot more pictures of critters to send your way in our quest to learn more about insects. Your website is fantastic.
Dear Teacher Becky,
We are happy your students got to witness the eclosion of this lovely Oleander Hawkmoth. Thanks for providing a followup to your earlier letter.