Subject: A caterpillar that I have not seen before!
Location: Southwest Michigan
August 25, 2016 8:48 pm
I found this caterpillar near my garage door while trimming my fire bushes. I live in southwest Michigan, and it is mid August. My father in-law is a retired middle school science teacher with a vast knowledge of insects and birds who believes it is related to the tomato eating caterpillar of the Sphinx variety, but I wanted more certainty. Could you help?
Signature: Curiously, Sang Park
Dear Sang Park,
Your father-in-law is correct that this is a Sphinx Caterpillar in the family Sphingidae. We believe we have correctly identified it as a Hermit Sphinx Caterpillar, Lintneria eremitus, thanks to images of the Sphingidae of the Americas site where it states: “Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda fistulosa), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis), and sage (Salvia).” Were any of those plants nearby? It may be easier to verify the identification by comparing your image to this BugGuide image.
We do have a lot of mint growing voluntarily around our house and in our gardens. Thanks for the information!!