Subject: Large brown hard shell Grub with tail?
Location: Madeira Island, Atlantic
October 6, 2013 5:58 pm
Today I was down in my vegetable patch collecting my clothes pegs that my daughter had dropped over the wall and I noticed this rather strange looking grub like insect partly submerged in a hole. It is fairly big 3.5 inches long and fat. It has a hard brown ”shell” and at first I thought it was a large Cockroach, until I removed it completely from its hole! You will see it also has a funny tail! It didn’t run or move much so that is why I think it is a grub. Potatoes have recently been pulled from the vegetable patch. What is my funny grub????
I have recently moved here from the UK and keep finding so many ”new” insects!
We can provide you with a family identification, but anything more specific is speculation. This is the pupa of a Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae. The case for the proboscis, which resembles the handle on a jug, is characteristic of many species. Your pupa resembles that of a Hawkmoth Pupa from Australia identified as Agrius convolvuli. According to the Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic website, you are within the range of the species. The site identifies larval food plants as belonging to “Convolvulaceae and Fabaceae, but there are records from 16 other families” and the genus Solanum is mentioned. The scientific name for potato is Solanum tuberosum. We believe your pupa is Agrius convolvuli. There is a North American species, the Pink Spotted Hawkmoth, that has a similar pupa, which you can verify on BugGuide. Larvae feed on plants in the potato family, according to BugGuide. If we are to believe Wikipedia, the Pink Spotted Hawkmoth has been reported from Portugal so it might be your pupa. The two species are in the same genus, and they are closely related.