What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large NZ caterpillar
Location: Langs Beach, Northland, New Zealand
February 16, 2014 1:40 pm
Hi, found this today at Langs Beach, Northland, NZ. 60 mm long, approx 8-10 mm wide. Smooth appearance, ridged but no hairs, grey green, with yellowish stripes in the underpart of it’s body and also leading to a distinctive pronounced spike at the “tail” end. It doesn’t correspond to any of the large NZ caterpillars I know of because of the lack of other colours.
Signature: Marianne

Hornworm from New Zealand

Hornworm from New Zealand

Hi Marianne,
This caterpillar is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae.  We are not certain of the species and we wish you had included a lateral view of the caterpillar.  If you scroll down the page on the Adur Hawkmoths page, you will see an image of the Convolvulus Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Agrius convolvuli, that looks remarkably like your caterpillar.  The image is from Corbyn Crescent, UK, but this is a very far ranging species that can be found in New Zealand and Australia.  The Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic website has several drawings that illustrate the variability of the caterpillar coloration and markings, but more importantly, there is a map that shows New Zealand in the range.  While we may not have the species correct, we can assure you that this Hornworm is in the family Sphingidae.

Thanks so much for your very prompt reply!  I’m sure you’re right that it’s one or other of those. The one we saw looks pretty much like this (so far as I can tell from the website picture):
Interesting – we’ve never seen anything like it in NZ before (but then we’re complete novices on caterpillar identification!).
Kind regards, and thanks again.

Hi Marianne,
In our opinion, your Hornworm is a different species than the one in the link you provided, however, both insects are in the same “pose” which may have acted as an influence for you.  Again, a lateral view would be helpful for identification purposes.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Langs Beach, Northland, New Zealand

19 Responses to Hornworm from New Zealand

  1. Tori A says:

    Hi Marianne,

    I am in NZ and trying to locate hornworms, is there someway I could contact you.
    Any ideas if you can find more of these guys? Thanks.

  2. Brett says:

    We have found a black hornworm today in Wanganui, it has yellow marking but the only infomation I can find suggests they are from Arizona and Nth America. Does the coloration mean anything as I work in an export compnay and wonderif this has exited a container from overseas or if they are plentiful here in NZ?

  3. Tori A says:

    Hi Brett,
    Where in Wanganui are you? I would love to get some more info have been trying to track down these guys for a few years.
    In regards to colour, it seems that colour is based off their diet.
    You got a contact email?
    Can contact me on faceanthrax@gmail.com


  4. Anna-Maria says:

    My friend found a round smooth caterpilla in Orewa burrowing into the sand. It had definitely a silver/grey almost translucent body with about 9? Segments with a single row of orangey brwnesh dots down its back. Have a photo but can’t find anything resembling it after 4hrs researching? Help.

  5. Tom Parsons says:

    We found a Black Hornworm at the Mangahume river mouth near Opunake this morning.

  6. Chris Litchfield says:

    Hi, this Monday my husband found one of these caterpillars making it’s way across the stony track on Matakana Island in Bay of Plenty, he took a photo of it.

  7. Joanne says:

    Hi yesterday in Tokoroa on a track leading to a stream on the gravel walkway saw a dark brown with red horn caterpillar looked like the green one in your picture. It tried to burrow under the stones. The path was lined with convolvulous.

  8. Nick says:

    Maori call these Anuhe or (kūmara moth caterpillar) I found one today. The spike is on the rear and when threatened they thrash from side to side to warn off predators.

  9. Tyla says:

    I found a horn worm at my house as my cat was playing with it, what should I do with it?

  10. Michelle Voges says:

    Hi Everyone
    any ideas where I can get dubia roaches and green hornworms for my bearded dragon?

  11. Mel Burton says:

    Hi I found 2 large green hornworm caterpillars 22.1.19, 1 is about 11-12 cm n the other about 10cm, they are orsum, wot do I feed them ? We found them in the grass around the compost, we live in the country just north of Hamilton, thanx n hav a great day

  12. K & K says:

    We are wondering what these caterpillars eat, do they turn into a moth??

    • bugman says:

      We are not certain of the species. Each species in the family has different food preferences. Hornworms become Hawk Moths.

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