What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar … I think?
Location: Abilene, TX
August 21, 2013 6:41 pm
Abilene, TX. August 2013 – I saw this big fat guy crawling past my foot, when I moved my foot it jumped away and hissed at me… Someone suggested caterpillar… is that what it is? It was none to happy about me taking its picture, it kept making noises at me, I wasnt aware that they could make noise!
Signature: Kat



Hi Kat,
This is a Hornworm, the caterpillar of a moth in the family Sphingidae.  We will try to determine the species on the Sphingidae of the United States website.

Update:  Thanks to a comment from Bostjan Dvorak, we now know this is a Walnut Sphinx Hornworm which can be viewed on the Sphingidae of the Americas.  The pink color indicates it is ready to pupate.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Abilene, Texas

2 Responses to Walnut Sphinx Hornworm

  1. Bostjan Dvorak says:

    Great discovery! The hissing noise is an essential detail in this animal, and it clearly reveals an Amorpha juglandis caterpillar. A. juglandis means “Walnut hawkmoth” (lat. “juglans” < Jovis glans: walnut ("Juppiters glans (oakseed)")), as the caterpillars are mainly found on trees from walnut family (walnuts and hickorys (Carya)). This species is the only member of the genus Amorpha from the Smerinthinae subfamily; it is closely related with the asian genus Phyllosphingia (eg. P. dissimilis) – they are similar as larvae and adults, and the caterpillars of both produce hissing or squeaking noise. As most members of the Smerinthinae, the adults don't feed. Their flattened pupae look like mammal excrements – and hiss as well. These sounds are produced by rapid air compression through the spiracles. The larvae burrow deeply into soil and their pupae overwinter in a chamber or exposed – the found caterpillar was on its pupating trip, to find a convenient place…

    Nice wishes from Berlin,
    Bostjan Dvorak

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