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

Subject: Northern California Caterpillar
Location: Northern California
May 20, 2017 10:57 pm
Hi, saw this little guy outside tonight and just wondering what he might turn into
Signature: Rachel

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Rachel,
This is but one color variation of the highly variable Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar,
Hyles lineata, and this BugGuide image is a very good color match to your individual.  The high rainfall we had this past season produced plants upon which the caterpillars feed, and we expect to be getting reports of caterpillar population explosions, especially from desert areas.  Our own porch light has attracted numerous adult Whitelined Sphinx Moths this spring. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar eating plumeria leaves
Location: Puerto Vallarta
May 10, 2017 6:37 am
Normally, the only caterpillars that eat plumeria leaves are tetrio and an occasional starving monarch. This young one, munching away in Puerto Vallarta this May, has everyone stumped – no one has seen one before. Any ideas?
Signature: Diana

Hornworm:  Isognathus leachii

Dear Diana,
The forward facing, filamentous, caudal horn is quite unusual in this caterpillar, and we suspect like the Tetrio Sphinx, it is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae.  We do not recognize it either and we are going to request assistance from Bill Oehlke.  It if is a Sphingiid, we suspect Bill may request permission to use the images on his very comprehensive site.

Hornworm:  Isognathus leachii

Update:  Thanks to a comment from Bostjan Dvorak, we have learned that this Hornworm is Isognathus leachii.  According to Sphingidae of the Americas:  “Larvae have long tails; colouration suggests they are unpalatable to birds.”

Hornworm:  Isognathus leachii

Many thanks for the follow-up: I’ve posted in the plumeria Facebook forums. You now have Mexican Pacific coast to add to the confirmed range, and plumeria as a larvae host plant, and like tetrio, they eat a lot of leaves! I’ve also alerted Dr. Criley at the Univ of Hawaii in case it shows up in their groves.  Excellent work!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: grayish brown caterpillar with distinctive “eye” pattern on rear end
Location: Mt Diablo State Park, Eagle Peak Trail
May 3, 2017 10:07 pm
I was hiking in the northern side of Mt Diablo State Park (San Francisco Bay Area) in late April when I came across this fellow on the Eagle Peak trail near some oak and pine trees (~1000 feet elevation). Its head end was light red, its body mostly grayish brown with subtle horizontal bands and two symmetrical vertical yellow stripes, and its rear end had a distinct yellow and black “eye” marking. About as big as my pointer finger (see photo with shoe for scale). I’ve never seen anything like it; it’s definitely not a swallowtail, and I’m pretty sure it’s not a moth. Any ideas?
Signature: Kitty

Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Kitty,
This is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, and most caterpillars from this family have a caudal horn.  The genus
Eumorpha is unusual in that many species in the genus lose the caudal horn as fourth or fifth instar caterpillars.  A common California species is the Achemon Sphinx, Eumorpha achemon, but your aerial view does not reveal features that generally help us to identify the species.  That stated, we did find an aerial view posted to BugGuide, so we are relatively confident our identification is correct.  The Sphingidae of the Americas site may provide additional information you find interesting.  We also learned of Sphingidae of the Americas that the Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatas is a rare stray in California, and it has a variably colored caterpillar that also lacks a caudal horn, but we are still leaning toward the Achemon Sphinx.

Hi Daniel-
Thank you for the information! This is very helpful. What a beautiful moth! Maybe I will get to see one of those in the coming weeks. Thanks again!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Arizona Pod creature
Location: Arizona
May 2, 2017 7:12 pm
Ok, lets see if you can figure this one out. Found wriggling it’s way through the dirt in our backyard in Fountain Hills, AZ.
Signature: Dave

Sphinx Moth Pupa

Dear Dave,
This is the pupa of a Sphinx Moth, and our gut reaction is that it is in the genus
Manduca.  We were going to inquire if there were tomato plants in the vicinity where it was found, but we took a closer look at the jug-like handle, which is the sheath of the proboscis, and the groves on it look different than what we are used to seeing on the Carolina Sphinx pupa that is commonly found feeding as a caterpillar on tomato plants.  A search of BugGuide leads us to believe this is the pupa of a Rustic Sphinx.  An image of the pupa of the Carolina Sphinx pictured on BugGuide also has the grooves.  If there was a vegetable patch near the sighting, our money is on the Carolina Sphinx.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar eating Morning Glory
Location: Victoria, TX
April 22, 2017 6:14 pm
Hi bugman been a long time fan and have always found your site useful and informative. We have a butterfly garden and love insects. We also do not exterminate and plant sage with our tomatoes. etc. Something ate an entire wall of morning glory and we finally found one. There may be many culprits, (we get excited) but our collection of field guides did not identify him. I appreciate your help and we are so excited about him. Thank you for your knowledge. God bless and we love your site.
Signature: Kristy Mower

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Kristy,
This Hornworm is the caterpillar of a Pink Spotted Hawkmoth,
Agrius cingulata.  According to The Sphingidae of the Americas:  “Larvae feed on plants in the Convolvulaceae family, especially Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato) and in the Solanaceae family, especially (Datura) (jimsonweed) and related plants in the Americas. “ 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth Caterpiller
Location: Adelaide south Australia
April 12, 2017 7:06 am
Found this in a nature reserve behind our house in Seacliff (near Adelaide) Australia. Any idea what this is?
Signature: Stuart Snyder

Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Stuart,
This is a Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hippotion celerio.  We just posted a green individual this morning.  According to Butterfly House:  “This Caterpillar occurs world-wide. It can occur in several different colour forms: green, brown, red or dark grey. It usually has an eyespot each side of the first and second abdominal segments, those on the first segment being larger.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination