Subject:  Omg what is this and where did it come from
Geographic location of the bug:  Mittagong NSW  Australia
Date: 03/27/2018
Time: 08:12 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  It’s the beginning of Autumn
Surrounded by privet trees
Several veggie gardens
Southern Highlands region of NSW
Nearly stepped on this thing at 4am in morning on my lounge room rug
Never seen anything like it
Realise it’s a grub of some kind
Put it in container
What should I do with it
Keep or let go
Will it damage my veggies
Does it turn into a butterfly or moth or something
Please help ASAP
Don’t want to leave it in container to die if it needs to finish it’s life cycle but don’t want it damaging my veggie gardens
How did it get here
No one I’ve asked had ever seen one before
My niece thinks it may be a type of horn worm
Please help
How you want your letter signed:  Freaked me out – sarah

Hornworm: Psilogramma casuarinae

Dear Sarah,
Your niece is correct.  This is a Hornworm, the caterpillar of a Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae.  We identified it on Butterfly House as
Psilogramma casuarinae, a species with no common name, thanks to this additional image.  Butterfly House has a list of food plants including olive, privet and jasmine, and the site also indicates “The caterpillar grows to a length of about 8 cms. When the caterpillar is fully grown, it leaves the food plant and walks up to 20 metres to pupate under the soil.”  Because of the pink coloration, we are surmising that your individual is pre-pupal,  and we suspect it might have already begun to transform.  You can return it outside to an area where it can dig underground.  It will not continue to feed at this time and it will not eat your veggies.

Hornworm: Psilogramma casuarinae

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Location: MIttagong, New South Wales, Australia

One Response to Hornworm from Australia: Psilogramma casuarinae

  1. Deidre says:

    Hi, It’s Monday 27th April 2020 at about 4pm. I just found my cat playing with something that looked very similar to the Hornworm: Psilogramma casuarinae pictured above, only it was more green all over.
    I want to know if it’s poisonous for the cat to eat, as he was trying to pick it up in his mouth & kept jumping back whenever he tried to bite it. (It could just have been that the spike was poking him in the face ;-p )
    The caterpillar was doing big half-circle flips but then slowed down to almost no movement at all. I put it in a jar but it looks pretty dead.

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