Currently viewing the category: "Hornworms"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  unknown “caterpillar”
Geographic location of the bug:  Buda, Tx (between Austin & San Marcos)
Date: 06/06/2019
Time: 06:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  It was walking across sidewalk underneath Elm trees.  White stripes were new to me.  Prob going to find its common!
How you want your letter signed:  Mike Cato

Hornless Hornworm: Eumorpha species

Dear Mike,
This is the caterpillar of a moth in the family Sphingidae, and most caterpillars in the family have caudal horns, and they are known as Hornworms.  There are several genera that have most if not all species shedding the horn as the caterpillar grows.  Your hornless Hornworm is in the genus
Eumorpha, but we are not certain of the species.  It might be the Satellite Sphinx, pictured on BugGuide, or it might be the Vine Sphinx, also pictured on BugGuide.  We will attempt to contact Bill Oehlke to get his opinion, and it is possible that frequent contributor to our site, Bostjan Dvorak, will recognize it and provide a comment.

Facebook Posting from James Lee Phillips:  “I’m really sad for the hornless hornworms. They deserve a less existentialist taxonomy.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar eating Mexican Primrose
Geographic location of the bug:  West LosAngeles
Date: 05/27/2019
Time: 07:53 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
Is this the caterpillar that’s usually found on tomato plants?
How you want your letter signed:  Jeff Bremer

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Jeff,
This is a very green variation of the highly variable Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar.  Daniel saw thousands of black and yellow Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars munching on the wildflowers in Joshua Tree National Park this spring.  When there is significant rainfall in desert areas, there are tremendous population explosions of this species.  See BugGuide for an example of a green variant.  The Whitelined Sphinx moth is a lovely pollinator that is often mistaken for a hummingbird.  Several related species, including the Tobacco Hornworm and Tomato Hornworm feed on tomatoes and other related garden plants.

Whitlelined Sphinx Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  some kind of horn worm?
Geographic location of the bug:  Boulder City  Nevada 89005
Date: 05/17/2019
Time: 11:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This is not our standard tomato hornworm/sphinx moth but is a different horn worm?
Please help me ID this caterpillar!
How you want your letter signed:  Dr. Merkler

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Dr. Merkler,
This is a highly variably colored Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar, a species that is known for extreme population explosions in desert areas following winters of significantly heavy rainfall.  In April, Daniel  saw thousands of dark colored Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars feeding on wildflowers in Joshua Tree National Park.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  In mexico
Geographic location of the bug:  Mexico by Lake Chapala
Date: 05/13/2019
Time: 09:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My mom found this caterpillar and its MASSIVE. Just trying to see if we could figure out what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Should we build a caterpillar wall?

Hornless Hornworm is Typhon Sphinx

This is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae.  Most Hornworms have caudal horns, but some genera and species shed the horn during molting before they reach maximum size.  This Hornworm is in the genus Eumorpha, one genus that characteristically have caterpillars that are hornless Hornworms.  We believe we have correctly identified your Hornworm as the caterpillar of the Typhon Sphinx, Eumorpha typhon, thanks to images posted to Sphingidae of the Americas. where it states:  “larvae feed upon grape species.”  Are there grape vines nearby?  This individual was probably looking for a good place to dig into soft soil to pupate.  According to Butterflies and Moths of North America:  “Caterpillars pupate in shallow underground cells” and “Range: Honduras north through Mexico to southern Arizona.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars in Joshua Tree National Park
Geographic location of the bug:  Joshua Tree National Park, California
Date: 04/05/2019
Time: 8:15 AM PDT
Daniel took a much needed break from the office on Thursday to drive to Joshua Tree National Park with Sharon to view the superbloom phenomenon.  At the Cottonwood Springs entrance to the park, the wild flowers were most spectacular, and it seemed that every plant had at least one Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar feeding on the vegetation.  Sharon asked why there were so many.  In years with substantial precipitation falling in the desert, there is an increase in vegetation, and that provided more food for more caterpillars that in turn provide more food for birds, rodents and other insectivores.  Periodically, there are population explosions of Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars.  Though most of the caterpillars were dark, we were still able to locate a few lighter individuals.

Whitelined Sphinx Cateprillars: Dark and Light forms.

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars: Dark form

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar: Light form

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Spotted caterpillar from Ecuador
Geographic location of the bug:  Jorupe Reserve, near Macará, Loja, Ecuador (near the Peruvian border)
Date: 04/02/2019
Time: 11:47 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I photographed this caterpillar (2-3 inches long) at the Jorupe Reserve on March 9.  The size and pattern of the eye-spots on the side look similar to those on some Eumorpha caterpillars, but I haven’t found a match to this.
How you want your letter signed:  David

Eumorpha Caterpillar

Dear David,
This is a beautiful Caterpillar, and because of its resemblance to the North American Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar and Pandorus Sphinx Caterpillar, we are quite confident it is also a member of the genus
Eumorpha.  Caterpillars of moths in the family Sphingidae are commonly called Hornworms because most members of the family have caudal horns.  Members of the genus Eumorpha frequently lose their caudal horns during the molting process.  We could not find any matching images on Sphingidae of the Americas, but many species on the site are lacking images of the caterpillars.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide a species identification.  We hope you will allow Bill to post your image to his site if he is able to assist.

Bill Oehlke Responds.
Daniel,
I sent image to Jean Haxaire and he indicates it is Eumorpha triangulum, but the plant it is on in the photo is not its natural host.
Bill
The larvae display several different colour morphs.

Ed. Note:  More information on Eumorpha triangulum can be found on Sphingidae of the Americas.

Excellent information.  Thanks very much.
(I have another one that I’ll send along shortly.)
David
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination