Subject: Caterpillar on Virginia creeper
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
June 25, 2017 8:02 pm
Hi there. I found this caterpillar along with some baby caterpillars and what could be eggs on my Virginia creeper vine. There are holes in the leaves. Not sure if the babies are the same caterpillar.
It looks like a shiny brown globe on its butt, interesting… Is it a fake eye to distract predators?
This is an Abbott’s Sphinx Caterpillar, Sphecodina abbottii, which we verified by comparing your individual to this BugGuide image. According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on Grape, Vitis and Ampelopsis” and though it is not mentioned, Virginia Creeper is in the same family as grape and many caterpillars that feed on grape will also feed on Virginia Creeper. BugGuide data does not report any Manitoba sightings, and Sphingidae of the Americas does not list the species among those found in Manitoba. Though Sphingidae of the Americas does not include any reports from Manitoba, the species page does indicate a caterpillar “was spotted on Virginia Creeper in early August in Quebec.” We are going to contact Bill Oehlke to inform him of your Winnipeg sighting which might be an indication the species is moving north due to global warming. We hope you will allow him to post your image on his very comprehensive site.
Absolutely. I also have some pics of baby caterpillars, and eggs, which could be the same species – all in the same vicinity of the adult. I’m including them here…
I have spotted a Waved Sphinx here as well. Thanks for the id. I hope it doesn’t destroy my vine, but I’ll leave it.
The eggs do resemble those of a Sphinx Moth and the caterpillar with the caudal horn is definitely a Sphinx Moth Caterpillar, however there are other species that feed on Virginia Creeper and we cannot state for certain that your early forms are Abbott’s Sphinx. According to the Sphingidae of the Americas, the Achemon Sphinx is reported from Manitoba and the site states: ” Eumorpha achemon larvae feed upon Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and other vines and ivies (Ampelopsis).“