Subject: SON SAVED THIS BEAUTIFUL CREATURE…BUT WHAT IS IT?
Location: Flagstaff, AZ Aug 2013
September 19, 2013 4:26 pm
I saw this large grub thing on my patio with a stick in its moth and not moving much. I called to my children to see this amazing creature. My oldest son pics up the end of the stick and there were these beak like jaws wrapped around this stick. As I look closer the stick was very long and had splintered through a segment of its belly (ouch!) So my sun held the grub and pulled the stick up and out of this poor creatures body. We then released it into the ivy in our yard. I had no explanation for my children, what kind of creature it was, why it has one eye on top of its head and what the few long ”hairs” on the body are for? So I ask you Bug Man what kind of bug is it. I had seen a similar creature on the same patio but last year. It had no eye on its head but it was white as snow and about as large as a garden hose in diameter and about 8 or 9 in long. Are they similar species? My kids love them and they are an amazing testament to nature. There are so many beautiful creatures that are over looked too often. My children love to find ”new” creatures and name them. They believe they have found many new species of insects. Bug Man if you could give me a lot of info on these creatures I would appreciate it. My son is going to do a report on the creature he saved of course once he knows what it is. Thank you for your time. My son loves your site and hopes you can help him with his creature (one eyed Jake) is what he named it. Thank you.
Signature: Mom with no answers for my son.
Dear Mom with no answers,
One Eyed Jake is an Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar in the moth family Sphingidae. Like other caterpillars in the family, it begins its life with a caudal horn. Like several other relatives, it loses its horn prior to its final molt and what you have mistaken for an eye on its head is actually a caudal bump on the tip of the abdomen. The caudal bump might fool a predator like a bird into thinking an otherwise tasty caterpillar was a predator like a snake. Additional information for your son’s report can be found on BugGuide and the Sphingidae of the Americas websites.