Carolina Sphinx Caterpillar

HUGE … caterpillar??
Location: Phoenix, AZ
November 7, 2011 9:23 pm
This was on the leaves of my Blue Potato Bush in Phoenix, AZ. It’s as thick and as long as my thumb. Can you tell me what it is? I assume it will eat my bush, but that’s nature….I won’t kill it!
Signature: Suzy

Carolina Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Suzy,
There are two large caterpillars that feed on the leaves of tomato plants and relatives in the nightshade family including potato.  We just posted a photo of one species, the Five Spotted Hawkmoth or Tomato Hornworm.  You have submitted a photo of the other species, the Carolina Sphinx or Tobacco Hornworm,
Manduca sexta.

Thank you so much, you are so quick!  I looked it up to see what the caterpillar turns into.  Very interesting information.  One more question, if you don’t mind.  What are the chances I would find that caterpillar in a cocoon and be able to see it emerge?  I only have the one plant, so it doesn’t seem to me the caterpillar could go very far – or would want to…..
PS  I am so thankful for the information I get from ‘What’s that bug’ that I am making a donation.  Thank you again!

Hi again Suzy,
This caterpillar does not spin a cocoon.  It buries itself in the ground and molts into a naked pupa like this image.

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