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

Subject:  Hornworm many spots
Geographic location of the bug:  North Dakota USA
Date: 08/17/2018
Time: 08:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi bugman,
Found this little guy walking along a plaved pathway. Looked through submissions and couldn’t identify myself.
How you want your letter signed:  BiochemGuy

Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear BiochemGuy,
Your Hornworm is a Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles euphorbiae, which is pictured on Sphingidae of the Americas where it states:  “The leafy spurge hawk moth,  Hyles euphorbiae (length: 2-3 cm, wingspan: 5-7 cm), was the first classical biological agent released against leafy spurge in the United States, with approval for introduction granted in 1965. Populations of this insect are present in several western states, including Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota and Oregon, and now Washington (Spokane County; David Droppers; BAMONA). The moth was also introduced from Europe into Ontario, Canada, and then into Alberta where specimens are occasionally still taken.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Identify Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Omaha, NE
Date: 08/05/2018
Time: 04:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I cannot find any photos of this particular caterpillar, the closest I have found is the Bedstraw Hawkmoth.  My husband said it spit green fluid at him.
How you want your letter signed:  Angela

White Lined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Angela,
It is to be expected that insects (and other creatures for that matter) that are classified in the same genus will share many traits.  You have the genus correct, but not the species.  This is a White Lined Sphinx Caterpillar,
Hyles lineata, a caterpillar that is found in several different color variations.  When conditions are favorable, there can be population explosions of caterpillars, especially in arid desert climates.  The adult White Lined Sphinx flies at dawn and dusk and is frequently mistaken for a hummingbird.  The moths are also attracted to lights.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar possible sphynx
Geographic location of the bug:  Brandon Manitoba canada
Date: 08/05/2018
Time: 02:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, I can’t fond this guy in my books. Yellow stripe down the back with white spots surrounded by black. Horn on tail.
How you want your letter signed:  Angela

Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Angela,
These are Caterpillars of the Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth,
Hyles euphorbiae, and according to Sphingidae of the Americas:  “The leafy spurge hawk moth,  Hyles euphorbiae (length: 2-3 cm, wingspan: 5-7 cm), was the first classical biological agent released against leafy spurge in the United States, with approval for introduction granted in 1965. Populations of this insect are present in several western states, including Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota and Oregon, and now Washington (Spokane County;  David Droppers; BAMONA). The moth was also introduced from Europe into Ontario, Canada, and then into Alberta where specimens are occasionally still taken. I recently received an image of larva (July 2003) from Neepawa, Manitoba.”  Here is an image from BugGuide.  Often knowing the plant upon which a caterpillar or other insect is feeding is a tremendous assistance for identification, and the image of Leafy Spurge on Idaho Weed Awareness is a perfect match for the plant in your image.

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

Subject:  Weird big caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  North Norfolk UK
Date: 08/02/2018
Time: 03:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
Just found this bug eating our golden trumpet.
Every once in a while it shakes it’s head side to side.
Never seen anything like this in the UK before
How you want your letter signed:  Nick Bussey

Privet Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Nick,
This is a Hawkmoth Caterpillar in the family Sphingidae, commonly called a Hornworm, and we have identified it as a Privet Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Sphinx ligustri, thanks to an image on the Wildlife Insight site.  According to UK Moths:  “The large caterpillar is even more spectacular than the moth, being bright green with lilac and white stripes along the side, and a curved black ‘horn’ at the rear. It feeds on privet (Ligustrum), lilac (Syringa) and ash (Fraxinus).”  Neither site mentions golden trumpet as a food plant, but it is not unusual for a caterpillar to adapt to feeding from a different plant host if that plant is introduced as an ornamental plant within the range of the moth.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for responding to my Email and identifying the caterpillar.
I was rather shocked to see something that large, generally caterpillars (and most other insects) are quite small in this part of the world.
The golden trumpet plants are quite new to the garden (around 10 days), they were purchased from an online plant centre so I suspect it may have already been attached when I took delivery.
I’ve now moved him (the caterpillar) from the garden and placed him on a tasty looking hedge at the front of the house where I hope he’ll be happy.
Thanks again for your information.
Best regards,
Nick.

Hi again Nick,
Relocating a Caterpillar to a plant it does not eat might mean it will starve.  Your individual looks quite mature, and perhaps it will survive by pupating.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Beach bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Cape cod ocean beach
Date: 07/29/2018
Time: 03:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this crazy thing?
How you want your letter signed:  Keyes fam

Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Keyes fam,
We especially love your aerial or dorsal view of this Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar because it shows how effectively the caudal bump resembles an eye, making this harmless caterpillar take on the appearance of a threatening snake, at least to birds or other predators that might find this fat, mature caterpillar to be a toothsome feast.  According to Sphingidae of the Americas:  “Immature larvae have the characteristic horn-like tail which drops off (i.e., does not develop) after the fourth instar.  Feeding lasts for three to four weeks and full grown larvae leave the host to pupate in undeground [sic] burrows.”  The big mystery to us is how it ended up on the beach.  Perhaps a nearby garden is growing grapes or another preferred food plant and it left the plant to pupate, when it was snatched by a bird that began to carry it over the sand.  The caterpillar then thrashed about and perhaps the false eye startled the bird and it dropped dinner in the dunes.

Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar

This is great! Thank you very much. We were surprised by the size, color, and that it was on the beach. Our theory was also that a bird may have dropped it there. We appreciate your help with the identification!
Oh, we have another question. What are the white squiggly things that run the length on each side? And do they serve a purpose? Thank you!!!!!
The markings on the side may help camouflage the caterpillar while it is feeding in dappled light.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination