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

Subject:  Giant Caterpillar Found!
Geographic location of the bug:  Mexico, Guanajuato State
Date: 07/30/2019
Time: 12:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Hi there! I was in my yard today and was shocked when I discovered this huge, mauvey colored, black striped caterpillar. I tried searching around the internet to indentify it but I had no luck. It seemed to have a single eye-like pattern in the middle of its butt, which made me think maybe it was a swallowtail, but again I can’t find anything like it. I am really interested in knowing what it is and would be so grateful if you could help! It’s also the summer/hot/rainy season here in Mexico if that helps! Thanks for your efforts!
How you want your letter signed:  Emma

Typhon Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Emma,
The “single eye-like pattern in the middle of its butt is known as a caudal bump, a mark at the tip of the abdomen that marks the spot where a caudal horn was shed from a prior molt.  Because of that caudal bump, we correctly guessed the genus and then quickly located matching images of a Typhon Sphinx Caterpillar,
Eumorpha typhon, on Sphingidae of the Americas where it states the larval food plant is grape.  Do you have a nearby grape vine?

Typhon Sphinx Caterpillar

Wow thank you for identifying it so quickly! That’s so fascinating! We initially believed that it had fallen off from a vine that runs along our fence and into our courtyard, so that makes perfect sense. Not sure if it is a grape vine however. Yesterday I put it back on the vine, so I’m glad that’s where it wanted to be. Thank you again!

It might have left the vine to find a place to pupate.  Many Sphinx Caterpillars burrow underground to pupate.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Huge caterpillar!
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern California
Date: 07/26/2019
Time: 03:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I have never seen this large of a caterpillar ever, not in the great outdoors nor in a museum! It was happily munching on our green tomatoes. It was 3/4” thick and almost 3 inches long. Was incredible! Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks, Aimee

Tobacco Hornworm

Dear Aimee,
Have you been growing tomatoes for many years?  Most gardeners who grow tomatoes are familiar with the Tobacco Hornworm, the larva of the Carolina Sphinx,
Manduca sexta, which feeds on the leaves and occasionally fruit of tomatoes and other related plants.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for this! I have, but have never seen a caterpillar like this! 🙂 Are both moths and butterflies called “caterpillars” in this stage?
Thank you,
Aimee
Hi again Aimee,
The larvae of both butterflies and moths are commonly called caterpillars, but some caterpillars have more specific names like the Hornworms of the family Sphingidae, the group to which your Tobacco Hornworm belongs, and that name refers to the caudal horn found on many members of the family.  After the caterpillar stage, both butterflies and moths have a pupal stage, commonly called a chrysalis for butterflies, and cocoon for a moth when the pupa is encased in a silken housing.  Generally speaking, the Caterpillars of moths are bigger than the caterpillars of butterflies, and some of the largest North American caterpillars are the Hickory Horned Devil and the Fig Sphinx caterpillar.  In Northern California, other large caterpillars you might encounter are the Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar and the Ceanothus Silkmoth Caterpillar.
Ah, I see, that is great to know. Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it!
Kindly,
Aimee
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  big ugly thing
Geographic location of the bug:  southern calif
Date: 07/22/2019
Time: 04:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  hi – i flushed this beast out of my grapevines, have no clue what it is.  it has what looks like one eye on top of its head, four pairs of feet. no horn on its backend.
How you want your letter signed:  Sue

Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Sue,
This is an Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar, a member of the family with caterpillars commonly called Hornworms.  Your particular species, in fact many members of that genus, shed their horn before attaining full size, and there is a caudal bump where the caudal horn was located.  The caudal bump does resemble an eye.

Hi Daniel – thanks so much!  I discovered the retractable head ( how weird ) when it started to move. I had it’s ends mixed up…  I hope it sticks around when it morphs.
Cheers
Sue
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Date: 07/20/2019
Time: 11:34 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there, we found this big caterpillar after some storms last night. We were hoping to find out what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Cindy Occhietti

Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Cindy,
Coincidentally, we just posted additional images of a Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar, also submitted from the Michigan peninsula.  Do you by chance know Larry?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Handsome Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern lower peninsula MI
Date: 07/19/2019
Time: 09:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this caterpiller eating the Gopher Spurge that’s been growing in our garden. He’s really pretty, and we’re not going to bother him but we would really like to know what kind of moth or butterfly he will become. I cant find anything like it in searches.
How you want your letter signed:  Observer

Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Observer,
We confirmed the identification of your Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles euphorbiae, 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). The moth was also introduced from Europe into Ontario, Canada, and then into Alberta where specimens are occasionally still taken. “

Leafy Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Cyclops Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
Date: 07/18/2019
Time: 10:32 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw a few of these guys and thought they were wild looking. I have never seen them before. Found them in mid summer.
How you want your letter signed:  RyeTye

Abbott’s Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear RyeTye,
We love your name “Cyclops Caterpillar.”  This is actually an Abbott’s Sphinx Caterpillar and we have gotten many letters regarding them this season.  The Abbott’s Sphinx is a moth in the family Sphingidae, and most caterpillars in the family have a caudal horn, giving rise to the common name Hornworm.  Some species like the Abbott’s Sphinx eventually shed the horn, leaving only a caudal bump that resembles an eye.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination