Subject: What’s this Caterpillar?
Location: Frederick, Maryland
July 8, 2014 12:02 am
My friend and I were picking up some plants for her mother at Home Depot, and we saw this big guy hanging out on one of the plants. I bought that one only so he wouldn’t be harmed by staff or other customers but I was wondering what kind of caterpillar he was, and if he turns into a butterfly or moth.
Thank you~!
Signature: – Karlee

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Karlee,
You are our kind of Bug Humanitarian.  This is a Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar,
Hyles lineata, and it is one of the greatest ranging moth species in North America.  Whitelined Sphinxes have been reported from all 48 continental United States as well as Canada and Mexico, and they are especially common in desert areas of the Southwest.  The caterpillars are highly variable, with black and yellow varieties commonly found along with green caterpillars like the one in your image.  The adult Whitelined Sphinx is a lovely moth that is often attracted to lights.  They also fly at dawn and dusk, a time known as crepuscular, so it is possible to view them pollinating flowers while there is still some daylight available.  

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Location: Frederick, Maryland

2 Responses to Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar saved from Home Depot Staff!!!

  1. Curious Girl says:

    I think it’s wonderful that the caterpillar was saved but supporting Home Depot which like Lowe’s and Walmart are selling plants grown from seeds coated in neonicotinoids which are destroying insect populations, especially pollinators (not just honeybees) is not a good idea. We all need to make better choices for the world we all live in:

    I had meant to suggest to you (Bugman) earlier this year to have a pollinators’ week (or month) on WTB? It would be great if more people understood how connected we are in this world.


    Oh, and I ended up with the body of an adult Euro version of the Whitelined Sphinx (Striped Hawk-moth — Hyles livornica) in Cyprus after s/he ended up stuck in a wall lamp… so very pretty. Turns out there was an adult Ant Lion there previously. A popular light I guess.

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