Bedstraw Hawk Moth Facts: A Fascinating Guide for Curious Minds

The Bedstraw Hawk Moth, scientifically known as Hyles gallii, is a fascinating creature that belongs to the Kingdom Animalia and the Genus Hyles. These moths are known for their distinct appearance and unique behaviors that draw the interest of researchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

One striking feature of the Bedstraw Hawk Moth is its ability to maintain relatively high body temperatures for flight by shivering. In fact, they can often maintain temperatures around 40 degrees Centigrade on cool nights, allowing them to fly in various conditions. Additionally, their wings are covered with long tapering scales that resemble fur, which helps trap air and keep them warm during their nightly activities.

Some hawk moth species, such as the Spurge Hawk Moth and Hummingbird Moth, are common visitors to gardens in various regions. For instance, the Hummingbird Moth, also known as Hemaris thysbe, is smaller than its counterpart and is frequently found in Michigan gardens, hovering at flowers while sipping nectar during daylight hours.

Bedstraw Hawk Moth Overview

Hyles Gallii Species

The Bedstraw Hawk Moth, also known as the Hyles gallii, is a large moth species. Some of its distinguishing features are:

  • Long, pointed abdomen
  • Long forewings with pointed or irregular margins
  • Antennae that widen and then narrow again towards the tip

These moths are often found hovering near flowers, where they feed on nectar using their long proboscis, also known as a “tongue” or “mouth tube.”

Sphingidae Family

Bedstraw Hawk Moths belong to the Sphingidae family, also known as Hawk Moths or Sphinx Moths. Members of this family share some common characteristics:

  • Large and heavy-bodied moths
  • Long, pointed abdomens
  • High body temperatures for flying on cool nights
Feature Hyles Gallii Sphingidae Family
Size Large Large and heavy-bodied
Abdomen Long, pointed Long, pointed
Feeding mechanism Long proboscis Long proboscis
Preferred environment Near flowers Near flowers
Body temperature N/A High for cool night flights

In conclusion, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth is an interesting species with unique features, belonging to the Sphingidae family, which includes other large Hawk Moths and Sphinx Moths. With their impressive size and fascinating feeding habits, these moths continue to captivate researchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Physical Characteristics

Wingspan

The Bedstraw Hawk Moth, also known as Galium Sphinx or Hyles gallii, has a significant wingspan size. In general, the size of the wingspan varies among individuals:

  • Males: 60-70 mm
  • Females: 70-90 mm

Wings

Bedstraw Hawk Moth has unique wings, which play a major role in their appearance and flight abilities. Their wings have the following characteristics:

  • Shape: Like many other hawk moths, their wings are relatively long and narrow.
  • Color: The overall color of the wings is usually a mix of brown, gray, and green hues.

Yellow Spots

A key feature of the Bedstraw Hawk Moth is the presence of yellow spots on its body. Here is some essential information about them:

  • Location: The yellow spots are found on the abdominal area or the hindwings.
  • Purpose: These spots serve as a form of camouflage or even mimicry to deter predators.

Forewings and Hindwings

There are differences between the forewings and hindwings of the Bedstraw Hawk Moth, which include:

  • Forewings: Usually darker in color with a more uniform pattern.
  • Hindwings: Lighter in color, sporting the distinctive yellow spots and usually hidden when the moth is at rest.

Eyes

The eyes of the Bedstraw Hawk Moth play a crucial role in their ability to navigate at night. They have:

  • Large, round eyes: This feature enables them to maximize light intake and to have better vision in low-light conditions.
  • Brightness sensitivity: Their eyes are highly sensitive to brightness, which helps them maneuver during nighttime activities.

In conclusion, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth has unique physical characteristics that make it a fascinating species to study. Its wingspan, wings, yellow spots, forewings and hindwings, and eyes all contribute to its incredible appearance and adaptation to its environment.

Life Cycle

Eggs

The life cycle of the Bedstraw Hawk Moth (Gallium Sphinx) begins with the eggs. These eggs are tiny and typically laid either singly or in small groups on the leaves of their host plants. Some common host plants for the Bedstraw Hawk Moth include:

  • Bedstraw (Galium)
  • Willowherb (Epilobium)

Caterpillars

Once the eggs hatch, the larvae, or caterpillars, emerge. These caterpillars have several distinct stages of growth, called instars, with each stage having a specific appearance. During their larval stage, Bedstraw Hawk Moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of their host plants to grow and develop.

As the caterpillars mature, they may display one of two different color forms:

  • Green
  • Brown

Pupa

After the caterpillars have reached full growth, they enter the pupa stage. During this stage, they transform into a chrysalis, which is a protective casing that encloses them while they undergo metamorphosis. The pupa stage is typically spent in the soil or under leaf litter, providing camouflage from predators.

Adults

Once the metamorphosis is complete, the adult Bedstraw Hawk Moths emerge from their pupae. Adult moths have a few notable features:

  • Long, pointed forewings
  • Large, heavy bodies
  • Long proboscis (mouth tube) for feeding on nectar

Some common predators of Bedstraw Hawk Moths in their various life stages include:

  • Bats
  • Birds
  • Wasps
  • Spiders
  • Shrews

Adult moths are important pollinators, as they feed on nectar from flowers, aiding in the process of pollination.

Distribution and Habitat

Europe and North America

Bedstraw Hawk Moths (Hyles gallii) have a widespread distribution, spanning across Europe, North America, and Asia. In Europe, they can be found from the Arctic Circle down to the Mediterranean, while in North America, their range extends from Alaska to Quebec.

Asia and Africa

In Asia, their distribution stretches from Japan and Central Asia to parts of western Africa. These moths prefer warm forest edges, sandy heaths, and calcareous places where they can find an abundance of flowering plants during dusk and night.

Forest Edges and Sandy Heath

Some typical habitats for Bedstraw Hawk Moths include:

  • Warm forest edges
  • Sandy heathlands
  • Open areas near sea level

These habitats provide plenty of flowers for the moths to feed on, such as catchweed bedstraw, which can be found in shady, moist conditions.

Plantations and Calcareous Places

In addition to forest edges and sandy heaths, Bedstraw Hawk Moths can also be found in:

  • Plantations
  • Calcareous environments

These environments offer a diverse range of flowers and plants for the moths to feed on.

Comparison of Bedstraw Hawk Moth Habitats:

Habitat Environment Example Locations
Forest edges Warm, open areas with abundant flora Europe, North America, Asia
Sandy heaths Open sandy areas with heathland vegetation Central Asia, Japan
Plantations Human-created habitats with diverse plant life Europe, North America
Calcareous places Habitats rich in calcium carbonate soils Mediterranean, parts of western Africa

Overall, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth can adapt to a variety of habitats, making it a versatile and widespread insect species.

Diet and Host Plants

Feeding Habits

The Bedstraw Hawk Moth (Hyles gallii) is a species of Sphingidae, known for its beautiful appearance and fascinating feeding habits. These moths primarily feed on nectar from various plant species. As caterpillars, they consume the leaves of host plants, which can include various species within the Galium, Fuchsia, and others.

Galium and Fuchsia

Two primary host plants for the Bedstraw Hawk Moth caterpillars are the Galium (bedstraws) and Fuchsia plant species. For example, they may feed on:

  • Galium verum (yellow bedstraw)
  • Galium mollugo (white bedstraw)
  • Fuchsia species

These plants provide essential nutrients to the developing caterpillars, allowing them to grow and eventually transform into adult moths.

Other Plant Species

In addition to Galium and Fuchsia, Bedstraw Hawk Moth caterpillars can also feed on a variety of other plant species, such as:

  • Rosebay Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium)
  • Madders (Rubia spp.)
  • Clarkia (Clarkia spp.)
  • Enchanter’s Nightshade (Circaea spp.)
  • Plantago major (Broadleaf plantain)

Here is a comparison table of some host plants:

Host Plant Plant Family Caterpillar Preference
Galium verum Rubiaceae High
Galium mollugo Rubiaceae High
Fuchsia Onagraceae High
Rosebay Willowherb Onagraceae Moderate
Clarkia Onagraceae Moderate
Circaea Onagraceae Moderate
Plantago major Plantaginaceae Low

Understanding the diet and host plants of Bedstraw Hawk Moths is essential for conservation efforts and helps gardeners create an optimal environment for these fascinating creatures.

Behavior and Flight Period

Daily Activity Patterns

Bedstraw hawk-moths (Gallium Sphinx) are most active during summer months such as June, July, and August. These moths are known to be crepuscular, meaning they are most active during dusk and dawn. They exhibit a hummingbird-like behavior, using their long proboscis to feed on nectar from flowers.

Seasonal Flight Patterns

During the summer season, Bedstraw hawk-moths have a specific flight period that generally lasts from June to September. This flight period can be divided into two generations:

  • First generation: June to July
  • Second generation: August to September

These generations are essential for the moth’s life cycle, as they involve the laying of eggs and the development of larvae. The larvae feed on bedstraw plants, which is how they receive their name.

Table: Bedstraw Hawk-Moth Seasonal Flight Pattern

Generation Flight Period
First June – July
Second August – September

Bedstraw Hawk-Moth features:

  • Crepuscular activity pattern
  • Hummingbird-like behavior
  • Long proboscis for feeding on nectar
  • Two distinct generations during the summer season
  • Larvae feed on bedstraw plants

In comparison, hummingbird moths are similar in appearance and behavior to Bedstraw hawk-moths, as they both hover while feeding on flower nectar and exhibit a rich reddish brown color. However, hummingbird moths have shorter tail ends that open up into a fan, distinguishing them from Bedstraw hawk-moths.

Conservation Status and Distribution

UK and Europe

The Bedstraw Hawk Moth (Hyles gallii) is considered an uncommon species in the UK, where it primarily lives in open grasslands, sand dunes, and heathlands. Throughout Europe, it has been recorded in various countries, with a significant presence in Scandinavia and East Europe.

North America and Asia

In North America, Bedstraw Hawk Moths have been observed but are not as frequently found as in Europe. Distribution stretches from Siberia through Asia to Japan, demonstrating this moth’s adaptability to different habitats.

Conservation Efforts

Given its status as an uncommon species, conservationists are taking measures to preserve Bedstraw Hawk Moth populations. Some examples of these efforts include:

  • Monitoring populations in the UK through the Lepidoptera Recording Scheme
  • Habitat preservation in areas where the moth is commonly found
  • Raising awareness about this species and engaging in public education campaigns

Comparisons of Bedstraw Hawk Moth distribution:

Region Status Habitat
UK and Europe Uncommon Grasslands, sand dunes, heathlands
North America Rarely found Various regions, less common
Asia Widespread, adaptable Broad range of habitats

Notable features of the Bedstraw Hawk Moth:

  • Red horn on the caterpillar’s tail
  • Uncommon in the UK, considered a conservation concern
  • Strong, adaptable species found throughout the world

Species Within the Hyles Genus

Hyles Dahlii

  • Known as the Dahli’s hawkmoth
  • Native to southern Europe and Asia Minor

Hyles dahlii is a moth species that belongs to the Hyles genus. It is predominantly found in southern Europe and Asia Minor.

Hyles Euphorbiae

The Hyles euphorbiae species mainly focuses on the leafy spurge plant as its primary food source. This moth is often utilized as a biological control agent to manage the invasive leafy spurge.

Hyles Livornica

  • Also called the striped hawkmoth
  • Distribution includes Europe, Africa, and Asia

Hyles Livornica, or striped hawkmoth, is recognized by its distinctive appearance of a brownish-gray forewing with several white streaks. Its range spans across Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Hyles Nicaea

  • Endemic to southern Europe and the Middle East
  • Caterpillars feed on bedstraw plants

The Hyles nicaea species is native to southern Europe and the Middle East. Its caterpillars mainly feed on bedstraw plants found in their native habitat.

Hyles Tithymali

  • Found in North Africa, Canary Islands, and southern Europe
  • Prefers Euphorbia plants as a food source

The Hyles tithymali moth is predominantly present in North Africa, the Canary Islands, and southern Europe. Its caterpillars preferentially feed on various Euphorbia plants in their environment.

Species Primary Food Source Distribution
Hyles Dahlii N/A Southern Europe, Asia Minor
Hyles Euphorbiae Leafy spurge Europe, Africa, Asia
Hyles Livornica N/A Europe, Africa, Asia
Hyles Nicaea Bedstraw plants Southern Europe, Middle East
Hyles Tithymali Euphorbia plants North Africa, Canary Islands, Europe

Further Reading and Resources

The Illustrated Natural History of British Moths

  • Written by Rottemburg
  • Covers the hawk moths found in Britain

The Illustrated Natural History of British Moths is a great resource to learn about bedstraw hawk moths and other species found in Britain.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia provides easily accessible information on the bedstraw hawk moth, including its habitat, behavior, and life cycle.

DNA Testing and Species Identification

DNA testing plays a crucial role in identifying and differentiating moth species. Through DNA testing, researchers can discover new species, like the ones mentioned in the Florida Museum article.

Comparison Table: DNA Testing and Traditional Identification Methods

Method Pros Cons
DNA Testing Accurate identification, discovers new species More expensive, requires lab equipment
Traditional methods Less expensive, easier to access Less accurate, can miss new species

Palaearctic and Alps Region

These moths reside in a diverse range of habitats spanning the Palaearctic region, such as the Alps, demonstrating their adaptability to various environments.

Nectar as Diet

  • Bedstraw hawk moths feed on nectar

Their diet primarily consists of nectar, which is essential in maintaining their high energy levels required for their nighttime flights.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Alaska

 

Whaterpiller?
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
August 13, 2011 5:03 pm
Ok I live in fairbanks Alaska it’s almost fall/our winter so you don’t really see all that many bugs around. But we found this guy he’s about 3in long brown with yellow spots and a spine tail thing and his head was the little thing.
Signature: ~Tif

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Tif,
Your caterpillar is a Hornworm, the common name given to the caterpillars of the Hawkmoths or Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae.  Hornworm is a reference to the caudal horn which most all members of the family possess.  When we are trying to identify New World Sphingiids, we generally turn to the easily searchable Sphingidae of the Americas Website where you can search by country and state.  There are only five species reported in Alaska, which makes the search quite simple.  This is the Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and the Sphingidae of the Americas site indicates:  “Hyles gallii ranges coast to coast in Canada (into the Yukon) and southward along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It is also widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.”  One might think that with only five species of Sphinx Moths in Alaska, identification of this caterpillar would be easy, but the identification is complicated by the variations in color among caterpillars, including a green variation and a black morph.  You can see a photo of the adult Bedstraw Hawkmoth from our archives.

Letter 2 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Strange Caterpillar from the woodpile
Location: Northeastern Pensylvania
February 25, 2011 10:26 am
Hi! Firstly, I LOVE wtb, I just found it a few days ago, and I’m practically obsessed with learning about the different kinds of bugs. I’ve always been a bug lover, and this past fall when I was helping my dad stack wood in the woodshed, when I found two awesome bugs in the course of one day. The first is a beetle looking thing, I thought he was just awesome, So I took him inside and snapped some pictures before I let it back on the woodpile. I’ve lived here my whole life and never seen anything like this! It did pinch ahold of my dad when he was poking it (silly man) and apparently it hurt pretty bad. But he just pulled it off and put it back on the wood, laughing at how dumb of an idea it was to poke it. The second little guy came crawling off one of the logs. It made me a little nervous, as I was ”stung” by a big green spiky caterpillar when I was younger, but all in all he was only concerned with munching on the leaf I put in the bowl for him. He was really cool, and I took him inside the house to photograph him, then let him go back were he was on the woodpile. I never saw what he hatched into though. Any idea what this guy is, and what he may have turned into?
Signature: Liz

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Liz,
Thank you for your highly entertaining and very sweet email.  Your caterpillar is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar or Gallium Sphinx,
Hyles gallii, which we confirmed on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  There you may read a lengthy account of the caterpillar and adult moth including details of its life cycle.

Thanks! 🙂 Mystery solved!
Liz

Letter 3 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Canada

 

Subject: Stinging Catepillar
Location: 70 km north of Fort McMurray, Alberta
July 30, 2012 11:38 am
I saw this guy in late July in a shrubby area in the boreal forest while working. He was about 2.5-3 inches long with a distinct red stinger. I have no idea what species this is…
Signature: Chebb

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Chebb,
Your speculation that because this caterpillar has a horn, it is capable of stinging is incorrect.  This is the perfectly harmless caterpillar of the Bedstraw Hawkmoth, a member of the family Sphingidae that has caterpillars commonly called Hornworms.  There are several different color variations to the Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar including black with spots and green with spots as well as your olive drab example.  The Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar feeds on the leaves of Bedstraw in the genus
Gallium and Fireweed in the genus Epilobium.  You can read more about the Bedstraw Hawkmoth on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Letter 4 – Bedstraw Hawk Moth

 

moth love!
I wonder if you might tell me about this amorous pair. I photographed them in July in Cooperstown New York. Love the website!
Thanks
Lisa Lazar

Hi Lisa,
This is the first photo we have received of the adult Bedstraw Hawk Moth, Hyles gallii. We have received images of the caterpillar in the past. Bill Oehlke has information on this moth on his wonderful Sphingidae site.

Wow! My photos made the front page of WHAT’S THAT BUG! There’s a wildflower called “Our Lady’s Bedstraw” which when I looked it up, also had the word “galium” in the Latin name, just like the moth does. Matresses must have been filled with this material, which was clearly particularly attractive to this moth… I found these two articles:
http://www.answers.com/topic/hummingbird-hawk-moth
http://www.judywoods.dial.pipex.com/plants/associations.html#anchor17891
Thanks for your speedy reply. I find your website completely engrossing!
Lisa Lazar

Letter 5 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth

 


Hello Mr. Bugman!
Here are a couple of shots of a moth we discovered in our front yard, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. There were several of them, seen at dusk, sucking nectar from our petunias. None of us have ever seen a moth such as these, and we are wondering if they are uncommon on the prairies. We have had a very long hot spell this summer – about 6 weeks above 35C, so are wondering if this may have made a difference to the expansion of their range? ‘Would appreciate any comments you might like to send. We have checked your site, and believe these are Striped Morning Sphinx moths. They move exactly like a hummingbird – very intriguing, and anybody we have talked to has never seen such an insect in these parts.
Debbie Thompson

Hi Debbie,
You have correctly identified only one of your moths as a Striped Morning Sphinx, Hyles lineata, a native species. Your other moth is a related species, the Bedstraw Hawkmoth, Hyles gallii. The Bedstraw Hawkmoth is found in North America and Europe. It might be an introduced species.

Letter 6 – Another Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

My two sons and I found this amazing caterpillar
Hello there, how are ya?
My two sons and I found this amazing caterpillar in the City of Red Deer, Alberta the other week. We are extremely interested in discovering what is called. Would you be able to help us out with this? Thanks & God bless!
William, Kyle & Daddy

Dear William, Kyle and Daddy,
This is the second Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar photo we received this week. The other was from Alaska.

Letter 7 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

I live in Anchorage, AK and found this one rainy day on the flightline. We tried to search the internet to find out what it was but had no luck. Can you help?Meghan

Hi Meghan,
The Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar, or Gallium Sphinx, Hyles gallii , is one of the few Sphinx Moths found in Alaska. It ranges through much of Canada and Northern Europe. More information can be located on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.

Letter 8 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

black horned caterpillar
Hi there,
I ran across this crazy looking specimen today fly- fishing in south-western Alberta on the HIGHWOOD river. It was approximately 2.5 inches long. I thought it was weird that it was sunning itself on a rock a couple of feet from the river. I saw on the site that another person encountered one in British Columbia, but you couldn’t identify it. Have you had any luck since?
Mark

Hi Mark,
Thanks to your letter we did more research and turned to Bill Oehlke’s site. We located what we are 99% sure is your caterpillar, the Bedstraw Hawkmoth. Caterpillars are very variable in coloration. The Bedstraw Hawkmoth or Gallium Sphinx, Sphinx gallii ranges throughout Canada as well as much of Europe. Oehlke writes: “Larvae, which were smooth, shiny, and predominantly black, grew extremely rapidly. They reminded me of warm, black licorice strips in that they were shiny, long and thin, and did not seem to have or exercise much longitudinal muscle strength. “

Letter 9 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth

 

White Lined Sphinx Moth
Location:  Saxtons River, VT
September 1, 2010 7:31 am
Hi Daniel,
I sent in the photos of the Giant Ichneumon last week that you are using for the September Bug of the Month. (Thanks, again!)
I thought you might like these two photos I took of a White Lined Sphinx Moth. It was on my phlox one evening. The interesting thing about these moths is, they are not the least bit bothered by having a camera stuck in their faces as they fly about, quite unlike most moths!
KT

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Hi KT,
Your action photos are wonderful, but we believe you have misidentified your moth.  Rather than the White Lined Sphinx, we believe this to be the closely related Bedstraw Hawkmoth,
Hyles gallii.  You can compare your images to the photos posted on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website that allows you to search by state or country to try to identify moths in the family Sphingidae.  The Bedstraw Hawkmoth is quite common coast to coast in the northern portions of North America throughout Canada and into Alaska as well as the northern portions of Europe and Asia.  Bill Oehlke indicates that along the Rocky Mountains it is also reported as far south as Mexico.

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Hi Daniel,
Thanks very much for that clarification. I was going by another moth that I saw on your site, which is the stock photo that was posted on August 17. Interesting that they are so similar. The photographs on Bill Oehlke’s site certainly do look like ‘my’ moth. Just for fun, I sent him the same two shots.
KT

Hi again KT,
We should probably have clarified that the Bedstraw Hawkmoth and the White Lined Sphinx are closely related moths in the same genus, hence your understandable confusion.

Hi Daniel,
Yes, they sure are very similar! I did send the photos to Bill Oehlke and this was the result! Very cool!!  http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/Sphinx/vtWindhamsph.htm
It’s nice to know there are others out there who are as interested in these creatures.
Have a great day,
KT

Letter 10 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: what kind of caterpillar is this
Location: walnutport pa
July 7, 2012 1:02 pm
I was wondering what kind of caterpillar this is? What will it turn into? I found it in the grass, what do I feed it?
Signature: Carol

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Carol,
In trying to correctly identify your Hornworm, we have also made a correction to our archives.  Many years ago we received a photo of a caterpillar with identical markings from Montana, and at that time, we narrowed the possibilities to two species in the same genus, the White Lined Sphinx and the Bedstraw Hawkmoth.  At that time the Sphingidae of the Americas did not have an image of a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, with this particular color variation, but now it does.  We suspect this is the prepupal coloration since many caterpillars change colors just prior to metamorphosis. 

Letter 11 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: unknown Armed Caterpillar
Location: CFB/ASU Wainwright
August 7, 2012 10:39 am
A coworker of mine came across this lovely specimen the other day and I have been unable to identify it. He reported that when he got close the caterpillar began thrashing his spike around as though trying to stab him with his knife and then scurried away suprisingly fast. Any clues as to what this may be would be greatly appreciated!
Signature: Jessica

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Jessica,
We needed to research the initials in your location in order to learn that the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) is located in Wainwright, Alberta, Canada.  This harmless caterpillar is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and you can find wonderful information regarding the species on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  Larvae of the Sphinx Moths or Hawkmoths in the family Sphingidae are known as Hornworms.  They often have caudal horns and they have developed elaborate defense tactics in an effort to intimidate predators.  Your coworker must have been perceived as a predator.

Letter 12 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: caterpillar on fireweed at 9200’
Location: Front Range of Colorado, near Boulder, 9200 feet altitude
August 16, 2012 8:07 am
Hi,
Found this caterpillar on some fireweed in my front yard.
Signature: Karelle

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Karelle,
This is the caterpillar of the Bedstraw Hawkmoth or Gallium Sphinx,
Hyles gallii.  You may read all about the life cycle of the Bedstraw Hawkmoth as well as its food plant, fireweed, on the  Sphingidae of the Americas website.  There are several different color variations for the caterpillar in addition to the olive color you have submitted.  Other colors include black and green.  Since a family matter requires that we be away from the office this weekend, we are postdating this submission to go live on Friday during our absence.

Thanks Daniel for your prompt and informative reply. I’ve seen the moth here, so I’m glad to recognize the caterpillar stage too.
K

Letter 13 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth from Canada

 

Subject: Moth
Location: Ontario
July 26, 2013 9:38 am
Sorry about this again. I want to know what this is type of moth and you can post this website.
Signature: M.0

Bedstraw Hawkmoth
Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Dear M.o,
This is a Gallium Sphinx or Bedstraw Hawkmoth, Hyles gallii.  You can read more about the Bedstraw Hawkmoth on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Letter 14 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: moth caterpillar?
Location: Prairie grass in foothills of Southern Alberta Canada
September 15, 2013 3:05 pm
Can you help with the identification of this caterpillar. It was found Sept 14th in prairie grass in the foothills of southern alberta, just east of the rocky mountains. Approx 2.5-3.0 inches long.
Signature: Evan C.

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Evan,
This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar, also known as the Gallium Sphinx,
Hyles gallii, and it is found throughout Canada.  It is also found across Europe and Asia.  You can read more about the Bedstraw Hawkmoth and its caterpillar on the Sphngidae of the Americas website.

Hello and thank you Daniel. I can now impress my friends!!
Evan

Letter 15 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: can’t find this one online
Location: Homer, AK
September 9, 2016 2:57 pm
Location Homer, Alaska, date yesterday 9/8/16. Thanks!!
Signature: T.Smith

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear T. Smith,
This is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas site, there are only five species found in Alaska.  This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas site:  “Hyles gallii ranges coast to coast in Canada (into the Yukon) and southward along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It is also widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.  Ken Philip reports it in Alaska from early June until mid July in the Haines Region and also in Ivotuk Hills near Otuk Creek on the North Slope.”

Letter 16 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth

 

Subject:  Vermont nighttime visitor
Geographic location of the bug:  Waitsfield Vermont
Date: 07/29/2018
Time: 11:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this guy waiting for us on our porch at 10 PM yesterday. Porch light was on but the bug was just sitting on a cushion. Gone in the morning.
How you want your letter signed:  CL

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Dear CL,
We suspect this Bedstraw Hawkmoth,
Hyles gallii, was attracted to the porch light.  According to Sphingidae of the Americas:  “Hyles gallii ranges coast to coast in Canada (into the Yukon) and southward along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It is also widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.”

Letter 17 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject:  A Different Kind of Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Lexington, Massachusetts USA
Date: 10/14/2019
Time: 03:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I spotted this unique guy while walking my dog this morning.  Could you please identify him for us?
Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Sincerely, Tracey Hynes

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Tracey,
We identified this Hornworm from the family Sphingidae as the Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, thanks to images on Sphingidae of the Americas.

Letter 18 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth

 

Subject:  Striped Hawkmoth
Geographic location of the bug:  Chicopee, MA USA
Date: 08/17/2021
Time: 11:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
This little guy or gal was zipping around the yard tonight. I am guessing it’s a Striped Hawkmoth, correct? Are they becoming more common for this area?
How you want your letter signed:  Kristi

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Dear Kristi,
This is a Hawkmoth, but a different species.  This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth and you can verify our ID on Sphingidae of the Americas where it states that it:  “ranges coast to coast in Canada (into the Yukon) and southward along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It is also widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.”  Your action photo is stunning.

Letter 19 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Canada

 

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  New Brunswick Canada
Date: 09/01/2021
Time: 01:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My 5 year old found this sucker hanging out today
How you want your letter signed:  Curious kids

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Curious Kids,
This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and according to Butterflies and Moths of North America:  “Fully-grown caterpillars pupate and overwinter in loose cocoons in shallow underground burrows.”  We suspect your individual was searching for a good location for pupation.

Letter 20 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Canada

 

Subjec:  Black hornworm
Geographic location of the bug:  New Brunswick, Canada
Date: 09/08/2021
Time: 01:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Several of these in my driveway today. Black/brown shiny with red horn. Three inches long approx.
How you want your letter signed:  Alice

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Alice,
This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar, Hyles gallii, and here is a matching image on BugGuide.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Alaska

 

Whaterpiller?
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
August 13, 2011 5:03 pm
Ok I live in fairbanks Alaska it’s almost fall/our winter so you don’t really see all that many bugs around. But we found this guy he’s about 3in long brown with yellow spots and a spine tail thing and his head was the little thing.
Signature: ~Tif

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Tif,
Your caterpillar is a Hornworm, the common name given to the caterpillars of the Hawkmoths or Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae.  Hornworm is a reference to the caudal horn which most all members of the family possess.  When we are trying to identify New World Sphingiids, we generally turn to the easily searchable Sphingidae of the Americas Website where you can search by country and state.  There are only five species reported in Alaska, which makes the search quite simple.  This is the Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and the Sphingidae of the Americas site indicates:  “Hyles gallii ranges coast to coast in Canada (into the Yukon) and southward along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It is also widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.”  One might think that with only five species of Sphinx Moths in Alaska, identification of this caterpillar would be easy, but the identification is complicated by the variations in color among caterpillars, including a green variation and a black morph.  You can see a photo of the adult Bedstraw Hawkmoth from our archives.

Letter 2 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Strange Caterpillar from the woodpile
Location: Northeastern Pensylvania
February 25, 2011 10:26 am
Hi! Firstly, I LOVE wtb, I just found it a few days ago, and I’m practically obsessed with learning about the different kinds of bugs. I’ve always been a bug lover, and this past fall when I was helping my dad stack wood in the woodshed, when I found two awesome bugs in the course of one day. The first is a beetle looking thing, I thought he was just awesome, So I took him inside and snapped some pictures before I let it back on the woodpile. I’ve lived here my whole life and never seen anything like this! It did pinch ahold of my dad when he was poking it (silly man) and apparently it hurt pretty bad. But he just pulled it off and put it back on the wood, laughing at how dumb of an idea it was to poke it. The second little guy came crawling off one of the logs. It made me a little nervous, as I was ”stung” by a big green spiky caterpillar when I was younger, but all in all he was only concerned with munching on the leaf I put in the bowl for him. He was really cool, and I took him inside the house to photograph him, then let him go back were he was on the woodpile. I never saw what he hatched into though. Any idea what this guy is, and what he may have turned into?
Signature: Liz

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Liz,
Thank you for your highly entertaining and very sweet email.  Your caterpillar is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar or Gallium Sphinx,
Hyles gallii, which we confirmed on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  There you may read a lengthy account of the caterpillar and adult moth including details of its life cycle.

Thanks! 🙂 Mystery solved!
Liz

Letter 3 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Canada

 

Subject: Stinging Catepillar
Location: 70 km north of Fort McMurray, Alberta
July 30, 2012 11:38 am
I saw this guy in late July in a shrubby area in the boreal forest while working. He was about 2.5-3 inches long with a distinct red stinger. I have no idea what species this is…
Signature: Chebb

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Chebb,
Your speculation that because this caterpillar has a horn, it is capable of stinging is incorrect.  This is the perfectly harmless caterpillar of the Bedstraw Hawkmoth, a member of the family Sphingidae that has caterpillars commonly called Hornworms.  There are several different color variations to the Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar including black with spots and green with spots as well as your olive drab example.  The Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar feeds on the leaves of Bedstraw in the genus
Gallium and Fireweed in the genus Epilobium.  You can read more about the Bedstraw Hawkmoth on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Letter 4 – Bedstraw Hawk Moth

 

moth love!
I wonder if you might tell me about this amorous pair. I photographed them in July in Cooperstown New York. Love the website!
Thanks
Lisa Lazar

Hi Lisa,
This is the first photo we have received of the adult Bedstraw Hawk Moth, Hyles gallii. We have received images of the caterpillar in the past. Bill Oehlke has information on this moth on his wonderful Sphingidae site.

Wow! My photos made the front page of WHAT’S THAT BUG! There’s a wildflower called “Our Lady’s Bedstraw” which when I looked it up, also had the word “galium” in the Latin name, just like the moth does. Matresses must have been filled with this material, which was clearly particularly attractive to this moth… I found these two articles:
http://www.answers.com/topic/hummingbird-hawk-moth
http://www.judywoods.dial.pipex.com/plants/associations.html#anchor17891
Thanks for your speedy reply. I find your website completely engrossing!
Lisa Lazar

Letter 5 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth

 


Hello Mr. Bugman!
Here are a couple of shots of a moth we discovered in our front yard, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. There were several of them, seen at dusk, sucking nectar from our petunias. None of us have ever seen a moth such as these, and we are wondering if they are uncommon on the prairies. We have had a very long hot spell this summer – about 6 weeks above 35C, so are wondering if this may have made a difference to the expansion of their range? ‘Would appreciate any comments you might like to send. We have checked your site, and believe these are Striped Morning Sphinx moths. They move exactly like a hummingbird – very intriguing, and anybody we have talked to has never seen such an insect in these parts.
Debbie Thompson

Hi Debbie,
You have correctly identified only one of your moths as a Striped Morning Sphinx, Hyles lineata, a native species. Your other moth is a related species, the Bedstraw Hawkmoth, Hyles gallii. The Bedstraw Hawkmoth is found in North America and Europe. It might be an introduced species.

Letter 6 – Another Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

My two sons and I found this amazing caterpillar
Hello there, how are ya?
My two sons and I found this amazing caterpillar in the City of Red Deer, Alberta the other week. We are extremely interested in discovering what is called. Would you be able to help us out with this? Thanks & God bless!
William, Kyle & Daddy

Dear William, Kyle and Daddy,
This is the second Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar photo we received this week. The other was from Alaska.

Letter 7 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

I live in Anchorage, AK and found this one rainy day on the flightline. We tried to search the internet to find out what it was but had no luck. Can you help?Meghan

Hi Meghan,
The Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar, or Gallium Sphinx, Hyles gallii , is one of the few Sphinx Moths found in Alaska. It ranges through much of Canada and Northern Europe. More information can be located on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.

Letter 8 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

black horned caterpillar
Hi there,
I ran across this crazy looking specimen today fly- fishing in south-western Alberta on the HIGHWOOD river. It was approximately 2.5 inches long. I thought it was weird that it was sunning itself on a rock a couple of feet from the river. I saw on the site that another person encountered one in British Columbia, but you couldn’t identify it. Have you had any luck since?
Mark

Hi Mark,
Thanks to your letter we did more research and turned to Bill Oehlke’s site. We located what we are 99% sure is your caterpillar, the Bedstraw Hawkmoth. Caterpillars are very variable in coloration. The Bedstraw Hawkmoth or Gallium Sphinx, Sphinx gallii ranges throughout Canada as well as much of Europe. Oehlke writes: “Larvae, which were smooth, shiny, and predominantly black, grew extremely rapidly. They reminded me of warm, black licorice strips in that they were shiny, long and thin, and did not seem to have or exercise much longitudinal muscle strength. “

Letter 9 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth

 

White Lined Sphinx Moth
Location:  Saxtons River, VT
September 1, 2010 7:31 am
Hi Daniel,
I sent in the photos of the Giant Ichneumon last week that you are using for the September Bug of the Month. (Thanks, again!)
I thought you might like these two photos I took of a White Lined Sphinx Moth. It was on my phlox one evening. The interesting thing about these moths is, they are not the least bit bothered by having a camera stuck in their faces as they fly about, quite unlike most moths!
KT

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Hi KT,
Your action photos are wonderful, but we believe you have misidentified your moth.  Rather than the White Lined Sphinx, we believe this to be the closely related Bedstraw Hawkmoth,
Hyles gallii.  You can compare your images to the photos posted on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website that allows you to search by state or country to try to identify moths in the family Sphingidae.  The Bedstraw Hawkmoth is quite common coast to coast in the northern portions of North America throughout Canada and into Alaska as well as the northern portions of Europe and Asia.  Bill Oehlke indicates that along the Rocky Mountains it is also reported as far south as Mexico.

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Hi Daniel,
Thanks very much for that clarification. I was going by another moth that I saw on your site, which is the stock photo that was posted on August 17. Interesting that they are so similar. The photographs on Bill Oehlke’s site certainly do look like ‘my’ moth. Just for fun, I sent him the same two shots.
KT

Hi again KT,
We should probably have clarified that the Bedstraw Hawkmoth and the White Lined Sphinx are closely related moths in the same genus, hence your understandable confusion.

Hi Daniel,
Yes, they sure are very similar! I did send the photos to Bill Oehlke and this was the result! Very cool!!  http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/Sphinx/vtWindhamsph.htm
It’s nice to know there are others out there who are as interested in these creatures.
Have a great day,
KT

Letter 10 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: what kind of caterpillar is this
Location: walnutport pa
July 7, 2012 1:02 pm
I was wondering what kind of caterpillar this is? What will it turn into? I found it in the grass, what do I feed it?
Signature: Carol

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Carol,
In trying to correctly identify your Hornworm, we have also made a correction to our archives.  Many years ago we received a photo of a caterpillar with identical markings from Montana, and at that time, we narrowed the possibilities to two species in the same genus, the White Lined Sphinx and the Bedstraw Hawkmoth.  At that time the Sphingidae of the Americas did not have an image of a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, with this particular color variation, but now it does.  We suspect this is the prepupal coloration since many caterpillars change colors just prior to metamorphosis. 

Letter 11 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: unknown Armed Caterpillar
Location: CFB/ASU Wainwright
August 7, 2012 10:39 am
A coworker of mine came across this lovely specimen the other day and I have been unable to identify it. He reported that when he got close the caterpillar began thrashing his spike around as though trying to stab him with his knife and then scurried away suprisingly fast. Any clues as to what this may be would be greatly appreciated!
Signature: Jessica

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Jessica,
We needed to research the initials in your location in order to learn that the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) is located in Wainwright, Alberta, Canada.  This harmless caterpillar is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and you can find wonderful information regarding the species on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  Larvae of the Sphinx Moths or Hawkmoths in the family Sphingidae are known as Hornworms.  They often have caudal horns and they have developed elaborate defense tactics in an effort to intimidate predators.  Your coworker must have been perceived as a predator.

Letter 12 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: caterpillar on fireweed at 9200’
Location: Front Range of Colorado, near Boulder, 9200 feet altitude
August 16, 2012 8:07 am
Hi,
Found this caterpillar on some fireweed in my front yard.
Signature: Karelle

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Karelle,
This is the caterpillar of the Bedstraw Hawkmoth or Gallium Sphinx,
Hyles gallii.  You may read all about the life cycle of the Bedstraw Hawkmoth as well as its food plant, fireweed, on the  Sphingidae of the Americas website.  There are several different color variations for the caterpillar in addition to the olive color you have submitted.  Other colors include black and green.  Since a family matter requires that we be away from the office this weekend, we are postdating this submission to go live on Friday during our absence.

Thanks Daniel for your prompt and informative reply. I’ve seen the moth here, so I’m glad to recognize the caterpillar stage too.
K

Letter 13 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth from Canada

 

Subject: Moth
Location: Ontario
July 26, 2013 9:38 am
Sorry about this again. I want to know what this is type of moth and you can post this website.
Signature: M.0

Bedstraw Hawkmoth
Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Dear M.o,
This is a Gallium Sphinx or Bedstraw Hawkmoth, Hyles gallii.  You can read more about the Bedstraw Hawkmoth on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Letter 14 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: moth caterpillar?
Location: Prairie grass in foothills of Southern Alberta Canada
September 15, 2013 3:05 pm
Can you help with the identification of this caterpillar. It was found Sept 14th in prairie grass in the foothills of southern alberta, just east of the rocky mountains. Approx 2.5-3.0 inches long.
Signature: Evan C.

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Evan,
This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar, also known as the Gallium Sphinx,
Hyles gallii, and it is found throughout Canada.  It is also found across Europe and Asia.  You can read more about the Bedstraw Hawkmoth and its caterpillar on the Sphngidae of the Americas website.

Hello and thank you Daniel. I can now impress my friends!!
Evan

Letter 15 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: can’t find this one online
Location: Homer, AK
September 9, 2016 2:57 pm
Location Homer, Alaska, date yesterday 9/8/16. Thanks!!
Signature: T.Smith

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear T. Smith,
This is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas site, there are only five species found in Alaska.  This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas site:  “Hyles gallii ranges coast to coast in Canada (into the Yukon) and southward along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It is also widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.  Ken Philip reports it in Alaska from early June until mid July in the Haines Region and also in Ivotuk Hills near Otuk Creek on the North Slope.”

Letter 16 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth

 

Subject:  Vermont nighttime visitor
Geographic location of the bug:  Waitsfield Vermont
Date: 07/29/2018
Time: 11:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this guy waiting for us on our porch at 10 PM yesterday. Porch light was on but the bug was just sitting on a cushion. Gone in the morning.
How you want your letter signed:  CL

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Dear CL,
We suspect this Bedstraw Hawkmoth,
Hyles gallii, was attracted to the porch light.  According to Sphingidae of the Americas:  “Hyles gallii ranges coast to coast in Canada (into the Yukon) and southward along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It is also widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.”

Letter 17 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject:  A Different Kind of Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Lexington, Massachusetts USA
Date: 10/14/2019
Time: 03:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I spotted this unique guy while walking my dog this morning.  Could you please identify him for us?
Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Sincerely, Tracey Hynes

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Tracey,
We identified this Hornworm from the family Sphingidae as the Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, thanks to images on Sphingidae of the Americas.

Letter 18 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth

 

Subject:  Striped Hawkmoth
Geographic location of the bug:  Chicopee, MA USA
Date: 08/17/2021
Time: 11:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
This little guy or gal was zipping around the yard tonight. I am guessing it’s a Striped Hawkmoth, correct? Are they becoming more common for this area?
How you want your letter signed:  Kristi

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

Dear Kristi,
This is a Hawkmoth, but a different species.  This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth and you can verify our ID on Sphingidae of the Americas where it states that it:  “ranges coast to coast in Canada (into the Yukon) and southward along the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It is also widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia.”  Your action photo is stunning.

Letter 19 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Canada

 

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  New Brunswick Canada
Date: 09/01/2021
Time: 01:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My 5 year old found this sucker hanging out today
How you want your letter signed:  Curious kids

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Curious Kids,
This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and according to Butterflies and Moths of North America:  “Fully-grown caterpillars pupate and overwinter in loose cocoons in shallow underground burrows.”  We suspect your individual was searching for a good location for pupation.

Letter 20 – Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Canada

 

Subjec:  Black hornworm
Geographic location of the bug:  New Brunswick, Canada
Date: 09/08/2021
Time: 01:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Several of these in my driveway today. Black/brown shiny with red horn. Three inches long approx.
How you want your letter signed:  Alice

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Alice,
This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar, Hyles gallii, and here is a matching image on BugGuide.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

73 thoughts on “Bedstraw Hawk Moth Facts: A Fascinating Guide for Curious Minds”

  1. Can someone please tell me why or how I had one of these guys in my driveway when they’re suppose to be native to Alaska and I live in northeast Pa.

    Reply
  2. I found one at the Wuskwatim generating station.
    Wuskwatim lake, Manitoba Canada
    I work for Manitoba Hydro and I took the caterpillar to the Entomology lab at the University of Manitoba.

    Reply
  3. I found one at the Wuskwatim generating station.
    Wuskwatim lake, Manitoba Canada
    I work for Manitoba Hydro and I took the caterpillar to the Entomology lab at the University of Manitoba.

    Reply
  4. I found 3 BedStraw Hawkmoth’s today and would like to see them change, but don’t want to kill them in the process. I found them on the edge of a dirt road. What should I supply them for food? Water? Will they survive inside or should I just let them go?

    Reply
  5. Found this one in backyard, but with dark magenta colouring on his body. Genetic mutation or cross-breeding between a different species of caterpillar such as the Pandorus Sphinx?

    Reply
  6. My friend sent me a photo of this caterpillar today. It was very pink/purple as it has been feeding on a profusely growing plant called Fireweed.

    Thank you for providing an ID

    Reply
  7. My friend sent me a photo of this caterpillar today. It was very pink/purple as it has been feeding on a profusely growing plant called Fireweed.

    Thank you for providing an ID

    Reply
  8. I saw a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar crawling across my car port in Greer, SC… was surprised to see it come from Alaska… So glad I looked it up… strange looking caterpillar.

    Reply
  9. Steve and Charlene found one in Tay Creek,New Brunswick,Canada…never saw one before…Bedstraw just arrived in the late 70’s here in central NB…did they arrive at that time or have they been all along

    Reply
  10. I just found one of these bedstraw Hawk moths caterpillars in Chautauqua County in Western New York. Funny the name bedstraw since our fields are being taken over by bedstraw plant. It would be nice if they were to eat all the bed straw in our fields.

    Reply
  11. 7/22/19 we have several in our yard, all eating on the fireweed. They seem to love the stuff. But we’ve lived on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska since the mid 60’s, and this is the first I’ve seen them.

    Reply
  12. Why do bedstraw hawk moths have something that resembles a stinger on their behind?? I have one that my daughter found in our driveway.

    Reply
  13. My neighbor just found one in Nikiski, AK. maybe they’re migrating.
    We haven’t seen any before, caterpillars or moths.

    Reply
  14. My neighbor just found one in Nikiski, AK. maybe they’re migrating.
    We haven’t seen any before, caterpillars or moths.

    Reply
  15. Union, Maine We have one that is very aggressive and keeps returning to our patio from the field we have located it to twice. Have killed many of the green tomato hornworms in our greenhouse but see no reason to kill this one. Will it harm farm plants/veggies/fruit?

    Reply
  16. Just found one of these beauts in my yard by the propane tank. First time I’ve seen one of these. Hopefully he’ll be okay through the winter. I’m just outside of Renfrew, Ontario in Canada.

    Reply
  17. Found another one in Wasilla. Seems when they Cocoon the material they make to do so, seems to be carbon like and quite crystaly & almost metallic. Kind of interesting.

    Reply

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