Subject: Black & green bug??????
Location: Paleo Hammock Preserve, GFort Peirce , Fl
June 29, 2013 4:09 pm
I was out photographing and I came across this unusual caterpillar looking thing with what looks like a tail.
Signature: Chet Smith

Gaudy Sphinx Caterpillar, we believe

Gaudy Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Chet,
First we want to compliment you on your excellent photograph of a Sphinx Moth Caterpillar.  Though we could not identify the species without additional research, the family Sphingidae whose members are commonly called Hornworms is obvious.  The caterpillars eventually mature into adults commonly called Sphinx Moths or Hawkmoths.  We used the Sphingidae of the Americas website and we believe we have correctly identified your caterpillar as a Gaudy Sphinx,
Eumorpha labruscae, and we believe this caterpillar still has some growing to do.  All caterpillars pass through five phases or instars prior to entering the pupal stage.  We believe that this is an earlier instar because of the appearance of the horn.  Mature Gaudy Sphinx Caterpillars lose the horn by the time they reach the final or fifth instar stage.  Mature Gaudy Sphinx Caterpillars are thought to resemble snakes.  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas site:  “In Florida larvae have been found on Possum Vine (Cissus sicyoides).  Cissus incisa, Cissus verticillata, Eupatorium odoratum, Ludwigia, Magnolia, Parthenocissus and Vitis vinifera are all reported hosts.”  The adult Gaudy Sphinx is a beautiful green moth.  We are going to contact Bill Oehlke to verify our identification and we are going to copy him on our response to you because he might want to use your beautiful photo on his own site as well.  We hope you will grant him permission.

Gaudy Sphinx Caterpillar

Gaudy Sphinx Caterpillar

Bill Oehlke concurs
It is third or fourth instar Eumorpha labruscae.
Bill Oehlke


Location: Fort Pierce, Florida

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