Currently viewing the category: "moth caterpillars"
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spinx moth
Location: Marshalltown, IA
April 18, 2011 11:06 am
While pulling weeds (wild mustard) in the hoophouse today, up popped a chryslis of what I am guessing is a spinx moth of some sort. It is alive and very active. I am wanting to provide it with the proper conditions to allow it to ”hatch” and get a few fabulous photos before setting it free. What do you suggest for success?
Signature: Bugged

Sphinx Pupa

Dear Bugged,
Many moths pupate underground and the pupae look quite similar, but those with a “handle” to contain the proboscis are the Sphinx Pupae exactly as you indicated.  As a point of correction, a chrysalis is the pupa of a butterfly and the pupa of a moth is not referred to as a chrysalis.  We don’t know what a hoophouse is, but if it has anything to do with a vegetable garden, we suspect this is one of the two species of Sphinx Moths in the genus
Manduca that feed upon tomatoes.  You can try keeping the pupa in a small goldfish bowl with several inches of damp, not dry or wet, potting soil.  You can also use dirt from the garden, but that might introduce other creatures to the habitat.  Cover the opening with cheesecloth to allow for ventilation.  Good luck “hatching” your pupa.  We are post dating this posting to go live during our holiday away from the office later in the week.

Fantastic! I stand corrected about the chrysalis thing… A hoophouse is, in our case, a tubular metal framework (think quonset hut in shape), covered with plastic sheeting and is used to extend the growing season of fruits and vegetables or to grow high value or sensitive crops during the normal growing season. We did grow tomatoes in the hoop last year. In the catepillar stage, are they very similar in appearance to the tomato hornworm or are they the same creature?

The Tomato Hornworm is the caterpillar of the Five Spotted Hawkmoth, Manduca quinquemaculata.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Second Unknown Caterpillar in AZ
Location: Tucson, AZ
April 17, 2011 10:13 pm
Hi there, My daughter found two of what appear to be the same caterpillars as your reader in Gilbert, AZ. We found them on a snapdragon vine in our back yard in Tucson. I have done exhaustive research and have been unable to identify the caterpillar. Just thought you would like another example of the same critter in the same general geographic area.
PS We are keeping them in a quart mason jar with fresh clippings of the plant on which we found them, and hope to observe them through their metamorphosis. Perhaps then we will be able to identify them.
Signature: Alicia & Sadie

Scribbled Sallow Caterpillar

Dear Alicia & Sadie,
We looked through so many Caterpillar images on BugGuide when we received that previous letter that we were seeing cross eyed.  We are no closer than our original guess that it might be a member of the genus
Cucullia, the Hooded Owlet Moths, though we couldn’t find any examples on BugGuide that had those markings.  Also the heads on the Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars were not pink like the head on the Gilbert, Arizona Caterpillar.  Your caterpillar, on the other hand, looks very much like this Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar in the genus Cucullia that is posted to BugGuide.  Though we may be wrong, we believe we may have your identification correct.

Excellent! I too am seeing cross-eyed after searching in every Arizona caterpillar database I could find online, as well as several for northern Mexico. Thanks so much for being such an awesome resource.
All the best,
Alicia in Tucson

Correction:  December 5, 2016
WE received a comment indicating this might be in the genus Sympistis, and it sure does look like the Scribbled Sallow Caterpillar posted to BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what kinda Caterpillar is this?
Location: Lincoln, Alabama
April 16, 2011 5:41 pm
what kinda Caterpillar is this? found
4-16-11 in a bush!
Signature: what does that mean? my names hannah?

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Dear Hannah,
This is an Eastern Tent Caterpillar,
Malacosoma americanum.  We located a nice web page on the biology of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar which includes this information about the tent:  “The tent of the eastern tent caterpillar is among the largest built by any tent caterpillar. The tents are constructed in the crotch of the host tree and are typically oriented so that the broadest face of the structure faces the southeast, taking advantage of the morning sun.  The caterpillars typically add silk to the structure at the onset of each of their daily activity periods.  Silk is added directly to the surface of the tent as the caterpillars walk back and forth over the surface of the structure.The silk is laid down under slight tension and it eventually contacts, causing the newly spun layer of silk to separate from the previously spun layer.  The tent thus consists of discrete layers separated by gaps within which the caterpillars rest.
The tent has openings that allow the caterpillars to enter and exit the structure.  Openings are formed where branches jut from the structure but are most common at the apex of the tent.  Light has a great effect on the caterpillars while they are spinning and they always spin the majority of their silk on the most illuminated face of the tent.  Indeed, if under laboratory conditions the dominant light source is directed at the tent from below, the caterpillars will build their tent upside down.  Caterpillars continue to expand their tent until they enter the last phase of their larval life.  The sixth-instar caterpillar conserves its silk for cocoon construction and adds nothing to the tent.
The tents appears multifunctional.  They facilitate basking, offer some protection from enemies, provide for secure purchase, and act as a staging site from which the caterpillars launch en masse forays to distant feeding sites. The elevated humidity inside the tent  may facilitate molting.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Help to identify this moth larva please
Location: Maui Hawaii
April 12, 2011 9:37 pm
Aloha, in late March I found that three of these larva had consumed a large gardenia plant in one night. I believe that it is a Sphinx larva, but unsure which. Thanks
Signature: Jim

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Jim,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar, an species introduced to Hawaii from the Mediterranean region.  The range of this species has increased with the cultivation of oleander in other regions.  Gardenia is a minor food plant.  The best place to try to identify Sphinx Moths from Hawaii and elsewhere is the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

green hornworm in Lima, Peru, South America
Location: south america, Peru
April 8, 2011 12:03 pm
Well, my friend posteed this picture in facebook and said that this is a waxd moth caterpillar, but I think that this is impossible because waxed moth is onkly found in Norht America while this thing is in the south. I think that this is either an archemon sphinix or a satellite sphinix. could you tell me its real name? thanks.
Signature: shi chen

Giant Sphinx Hornworm, we believe

Dear shi chen,
We have not had any luck identifying this Hornworm, however, your best resource will probably be the Sphingidae of the Americas Peru webpage.  We do not believe it is either the Achemon Sphinx nor the Satellite Sphinx.  Can you provide the name of the food plant?

April 15, 2011
An update: my friend told me that he had found three of these kinds of hornworm. Unluckly, 2 of them was gone after he returned few days later and so he only have that worm picture. He did mentioned that the other 2 have white stripes opn them. Also these worms are resting on :an olive tree, a cherimoya tree, and an unkonw green shrub (probably another fruit tree). He also mentioned that the the picture of the wormhorm that I had sent you has faded white stripes. This can be told when the contrast of the picture is risen, which that’s how he did it. This probably means that this some of pillar’s white stripes had faded away after growing to certain size. This is my upadated information. Hope you have luck in identifying the caterpillar. Thanks.
Shi Chen

Update:  July 22, 2018
The research we did because of a new Hornworm posting we made has caused us to believe this is a Giant Sphinx Hornworm, Cocytius antaeus, a species that feeds on the leaves of cherimoya and has recently been reported in Southern California.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Caterpillar Mystery
Location: Central Texas (Ft. Hood)
April 9, 2011 8:34 pm
I found this caterpillar on a low growing oak species in central Texas.
Any idea what it could be?
Signature: writerwren

Tolype Caterpillar

Dear writerwren,
We are not having any luck trying to identify this caterpillar.  It appears that it may have stinging spines.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide an identification.

Update:  January 3, 2016
Thanks to a recent comment, we are inclined to agree that this looks like a Tolype Caterpillar which is pictured on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination