What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Green Crawling insect
Geographic location of the bug:  India- Goa
Date: 08/02/2018
Time: 12:07 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please find this bug details.
How you want your letter signed:  Ta

Hornworm: Theretra lycetus

Dear Ta,
This is a Hornworm, the caterpillar of a Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae.  We are not entirely sure we have correctly identified your individual, but the caterpillar of the Levant Hawkmoth,
Theretra alecto, pictured on Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic looks similar, as does the green variation of the Taro Hornworm, Theretra oldenlandiae, also pictured on Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic.  We hope Hornworm expert Bostjan Dvorak can assist in this identification.

Ed. Note:  We are thrilled that Bostjan wrote back that “This amazing record documents the spectacular caterpillar of Theretra lycetus, in a rather rare, green morph; it is more common in yellow or brown colour.”  The species is not even represented on Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic, which explains why we never even considered it.  We do have an image of the adult Theretra lycetus in our archives.  We did locate an image of a brown caterpillar on Wikimedia Commons

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Goa, India

6 Responses to Hornworm from India: Theretra lycetus

  1. Bostjan Dvorak says:

    Thank You so much! I found Your new finding quite now. – This amazing record documents the spectacular caterpillar of Theretra lycetus, in a rather rare, green morph; it is more common in yellow or brown colour.

    Great wishes from Ulm,
    Bostjan

  2. Bostjan Dvorak says:

    Indeed, not all of the species from the region are listed on that site, nor on other sites, for whatever reasons; maybe they are not typical or original enough for the referred area the page was first concepted for… I had quite some trouble to find out the identity of this very type of caterpillars some years ago. I’ll try to find some more information… In fact there is some similarity between what is known as T. lycetus and some variations identified as of T. alecto on photos from eastern areas – but I would never assign those to T. alecto nor do those varieties (with multiple strong ocelli) occur in the western part of its territory… and still, the difference to what is known as T. lycetus is huge — even though the genital details (which I didn’t consider) may eventually be very very similar…

  3. Bostjan Dvorak says:

    There is a nice source of information about this species which I just happened to find again, the presentation of Sphingidae caterpillars from Laos and Thailand (part 3) by Eitschberger & Ihle from 2013:
    https://www.zobodat.at/pdf/Neue-Entomologische-Nachrichten_69_0191-0200.pdf

    According to the information given by the authors the larvae have been found on plants from the Dilleniaceae, Leeaceae and Vitaceae families so far.

    Great wishes
    Bostjan

Leave a Reply

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