What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Larva
Location: Southern Belize
January 17, 2014 7:38 pm
Moth or butterfly larva? Species?
Signature: Jerry Brown



Hi Jerry,
This is a Hornworm, a caterpillar in the moth family Sphingidae.  It appears to be a young instar.  Caterpillars undergo five distinct stages or instars, molting and transforming size and appearance after each.  The final molt after the fifth instar results in the pupa.  We will attempt to provide a species identification for you, and that will require clicking on each of the links on the Sphingidae of Belize page on Bizland.  Should you decide to undertake that task, please let us know if you find any matching images.  Unfortunately, each distinct instar isn’t pictured for every species.  Knowing the plant upon which it was feeding would be very helpful.

Update:  Isognathus scyron
Identification courtesy of Bostjan Dvorak:  Bostjan provided us with a name, and we have found some photo on BiodiversidadVirtual and on Cesar Crash’s Brazilian website Insetologia.

Thanks for the ID. Very cool. Web link does not list Belize, so maybe that is new info.

Hi Jerry,
We believe the Bizland documentation is based on actual sightings, and perhaps there has never been a verified sighting in Belize.  Bizland does report sightings in Costa Rica and Guatemala as well as South America and Cuba.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Belize

2 Responses to Hornworm from Belize is Isognathus scyron

  1. Bostjan Dvorak says:

    Hello and nicest wishes for 2014!

    This is indeed a young instar of a hawkmoth larva, namely from the genus Isognathus; it seems to be an Isognathus scyron. This and related species pupate among foliage on the soil and build beautiful black pupae with orange markings; these develop into elegant greyish moths with yellowish or orange underwings. In Erinnyis, Pseudosphinx and Isognathus, the habitus is similar to that of the Sphinginae, but systematically, the three genera belong to the subfamily of the Macroglossinae. Many of the species live on Apocynaceae (Frangipani, Oleander …) and Euphorbiaceae, and their colorful caterpillars are often gregarious in their first instars.

    Best from Berlin,

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