Subject: Large Caterpillar
Location: North Florida
August 26, 2016 5:02 pm
Saw this huge caterpillar outside on the screen of the screened porch and couldn’t figure out what it is. Would love to find out, though!
This is the caterpillar of a Tersa Sphinx, and we are guessing that you have a penta plant nearby as that is one of its favorite caterpillar host plants. According to Sphingidae of the Americas: “The snake-like larva has a head and the three thoracic segments which may be retracted into abdominal segment 1, which is swollen and adorned with a pair of light-ringed eye-spots. I often get questions about these larvae due to their voracious appetites for garden penta species. Larvae also feed on Borreria, Catalpa and Manettia spp. and Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra) and starclusters (Pentas species). They are also recorded on joe-pie weed and Hamelia patens.”