Subject: Moth
Location: North America. Missouri
August 15, 2014 12:58 pm
What type if moth will emerge? How long will it take?
Signature: Thank you Rebecca Byrne

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars

Hi Rebecca,
If possible, please let us know which plant these Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars were feeding upon.  This is a highly variable caterpillar, and in addition to green individuals like the ones you submitted, some Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars are yellow and some Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars are black.  This is an edible species of caterpillar and it is found in all 48 continental states.  We are curious about the food plant as there is such a large variety of plants that can serve as larval foods.  Whitelined Sphinxes are especially numerous in the American southwest, and some years see tremendous explosions in the population numbers of both the larvae and the adults.  Whitelined Sphinxes are large and very pretty moths that are frequently attracted to lights.  We cropped your second image to show a fresh pupa on the right and a caterpillar nearing the moment of pupation on the left.  We expect metamorphosis will be complete within a month, though at the end of the year in colder climates, the pupa may pass the winter and emerge in the spring.

Whitelined Sphinx Pupa (right) and caterpillar nearing pupation.

Whitelined Sphinx Pupa (right) and caterpillar nearing pupation.

Location: Missouri

2 Responses to Whitelined Sphinxes: Hornworms and Pupae

  1. Steve Carras says:

    Edible caterpillars..I somehow think if eating them a big huge moth will emerge in my stomach lol..with pupa…

    • bugman says:

      According to Desert Museum: “Known as makkum by the O’odham People, these caterpillars are bright yellow or green with longitudinal black stripes and lateral red dots. Fully grown, they are about three inches in length. … Tohono O’odham men, women, and children collected makkum during the caterpillar’s wandering pre-pupation phase. After removing the head and viscera, the larvae were traditionally roasted over hot coals and either eaten immediately,”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *