Subject: our caterpillar
Location: Pringle Bay, W. Cape, South Africa
January 29, 2014 12:28 am
Please help us identify our caterpillar! What will it become?
Signature: Jo

Hornworm, possibly Hippotion species

Hornworm:  Theretra cajus

Dear Jo,
We can tell you for certain that this is a Hornworm, the caterpillar of a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae, but we are having a bit of difficulty narrowing the identification down to a species.  Your caterpillar bears a striking resemblance to the Hornworms in the genus
Hippotion that are pictured on ISpot, however, we cannot find an example that is a perfect match that is identified to the species.  This individual on ISpot looks identical to your caterpillar, and it is identified as an Arum Sphinx.  We dug a bit more and found many photos of a green variation on this caterpillar, also on ISpot, and it is identified as probably Hippotion eson.  This image on Inmagine supports that identification, but we would like confirmation on a website with more scientific credibility.  The adult Hippotion eson is pictured on African Moths, and the distribution includes South Africa.  We would not rule out the possibility that this is Hippotion celerio, the Silver-Striped Hawkmoth, based on this image on ISpot.  We are relatively confident that the genus Hippotion is correct, but do to variability within the species and similarities between species, we cannot be certain of an exact identification.

Update:  November 4, 2016
We just received a comment identifying this Hornworm as
Theretra cajus.

Location: Pringle Bay, South Africa

4 Responses to Hornworm from South Africa probably Theretra cajus

  1. Greg says:

    Hi there,
    I have found a horn lava Silver stipe- hawk moth in My garden Cape Town . I would like to know what it eats in order to show my two daughters the transition from lava to moth?

  2. Jeffrey Groenewald says:

    I reared a hawkmoth from the Kogelbaai area from egg to moth and its markings were virtually identical to this one. It was identified as the Cream Stripe Hawk Moth (Theretra cajus).

  3. Curt Anderson says:

    Found one one screen door today in Dothan, AL.

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