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Pachylia Scyses scyses?? Or Fig Sphinx?
I love your site as you must realize because I keep sending you things to identify. I found what looked like a ficus sphinx on your site, but the caterpillar is totally different from those shown for this moth. The caterpillar and the moth are shown in these two photos. The caterpillar ate ficus leaves. It began making a pupa shortly after I took photos of it and the moth that emerged is the one shown here. I live in Costa Rica.
Mary Thorman

Hi Mary,
You have a Ficus Sphinx, Pachylia ficus. The caterpillars have several different color variations. Thank you for sending in this awesome striped variation. To add to the confusion, there are subspecies and regional variations. Caterpillars are notoriously difficult to identify which is why the host plant is so helpful.

Correction:  January 8, 2012
While researching a new submission, we stumbled upon this old posting and we realized that Mary was in fact correct.  This is the caterpillar and adult of
Pachylia syces, a different species in the same genus as the Fig Sphinx.  Comparing Mary’s images to those on the Sphingidae of the Americas reveals our original error.

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From North Texas
Can you tell what this is? It was found east of Dallas TX. Thanks,

Hi John,
This is a White Lined Sphinx Caterpillar. There are several different color variations for the caterpillar, and this is a common one. Other caterpillars are almost entirely black. The adult moths are sometimes confused for hummingbirds.

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What is this Caterpillar?
This picture was taken on the island of Eustatius in the Caribbean in February of this year. It was feeding on a plant with orange flowers. Any idea what it is.
Carl Anderson

Hi Carl,
This could well be the most gorgeous photo of a Tetrio Sphinx Caterpillar, Pseudosphinx tetrio, ever taken. Thank you for sending it in.

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oleander hawkmoth (sphinx)?
Dear Bugman,
Thanks for a great website! I found your site while trying to identify a caterpillar that we found on the gardenia bush in our garden in Khartoum, Sudan. I didn’t find the same caterpillar on your site, but found enough lookalikes to be sure that it was a hawkmoth / sphinx caterpillar (I’d thought it was a butterfly caterpillar) and so was able to find it by searching on “gardenia” and “hawkmoth”. It’s almost identical to the caterpillar on this page: It eats faster than any caterpillar I’ve ever seen, and is now as big asmy index finger (it had just hatched when I found it) Looking for more information, I ended up back on your site where you have quite a few pictures of the adult moths, all from Hawaii, I think. We also get a lot of swallowtails on our lemon trees. Any idea what type of swallowtails these are? (not much tail in evidence, I know, but it is a swallowtail isn’t it? The caterpillars and crysallis look right.
Thanks again for fascinating website- I’ll certainly visit often as my kids and I are avid bug hunters, and find it difficult to identify much of what we find, as I’m more familiar with the bugs found back home in England.

Hi Katy,
We are very happy you sent in your Oleander Sphinx Caterpillar as it will help other readers identify their caterpillars. We are unsure what species of swallowtail in Sudan feeds on lemon.

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Look what the cat dragged in. I think she found it in our ficus hedge. It is a bit over 3″ long. Love your website, as do my 3 and 6 year olds. 🙂
Deerfield Beach, FL

Hi Cheryl,
Thanks for you nice letter. Our site is very popular with kids of all ages. This is a Ficus Sphinx Caterpillar. Yours sounds like a small specimen.

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I know the pictures are bad. But I’m hoping you can i.d. this guy (there are actually five on the plant) munching on our silver buttonwood. It’s sort of orange with a darker orange broad band going down the length of its back. It has a creamy colored head. Any ideas? Thank you! I love your site!

Hi Joseph,
Based on assumptions we have made, this could be an Arrow Sphinx, Lophostethus dumolinii, if you live in South Africa. Your photo is of a Sphinx Moth Caterpillar, and we typed sphinx and buttonwood into a google search and came up with a species that feeds on that tree. We found a photo of the adult moth, but not the caterpillar, so we might not be right, especially since we don’t know from what part of the world you wrote.

We figured it was some sort of a Sphinx moth, but we are actually in South Florida. Do you have any other guesses based on our region?

A new web search led us to this bit of information about Silver Buttonwood: “Occasional larval host plant for martial hairstreak (Strymon martialis) butterflies and Tantalus Sphinx (Aellopus tantalus) moths.” Sadly, we couldn’t locate an image of the larva online to verify that it is your caterpillar.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination