Subject: Unknown butterfly caterpillar Guatemala
Location: North of Guatemala
January 14, 2013 5:41 am
heres a photo (taken last week) of a caterpillar found in the north of Guatemala, close to El Mirador.
Its yellow stripes/bands glow in the dark.
Thanks for your help!
This is not a butterfly caterpillar. It is the caterpillar of a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth known as the Tetrio Sphinx. According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website, it ranges from the warmer areas of the United States including Florida and Texas south into South America including Brazil. It is also found in the Caribbean. The caterpillars feed upon: “Larvae feed on Allamanda cathartica and Frangipani (Plumieria rubra) and probably other members of the Dogbane family: Apocynaceae. The brightly coloured caterpillar is easy to find in gardens. The larva feeding on a tree of Himatanthus. This tree produces a white, toxic latex which is incorporated into the tissues of the caterpillar without harming it. The toxins in the caterpillar, however, are toxic to would-be-predators. Larvae with red-yellow-black colours usually carry toxins and are left alone by birds.”