Location: South Africa
April 26, 2013 3:44 am
I found this worm crawling into the house. It’s the second one we have found trying to make it’s way indoors. The first on was yellow and green if I remember correctly.
What is it?
Signature: Don’t understand the question
This is a Hornworm, a caterpillar in the Hawkmoth family Sphingidae. We believe it is the caterpillar of a Death’s Head Hawkmoth, Acherontia atropos, though this is not the typical color we see for the species. Typically, the caterpillars of the Death’s Head Hawkmoth are a bright green and yellow color like your email indicates. According to the Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic: “Prior to pupation, the fully-grown larva darkens over a period of several hours, during which stage it anoints its whole body with ‘saliva’; this appears to hasten the darkening process. This completed, a suitable location for pupation is sought.” We are not certain why they are trying to get indoors, but they might be seeking a suitable location to pupate.
Update: May 5, 2013
We just received a wonderful correction and explanation of why this is actually Coelonia fulvinotata.