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?
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.