Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar from South Africa

Subject: What kind of caterpillar is this?
Location: Sandton, South Africa
April 13, 2016 12:31 pm
Hi there!
This is Absolem, the caterpillar who is living off of my Basil plant.
I live in Sandton, just north of Johannesburg, South Africa.
It has just turned Autumn here and we went through a bit of a cold spell but it’s warming up a little bit before winter hits.
From the pictures I’ve seen it seems like Absolem may be a Death’s head Hawk moth. But I’ve never seen any of these in this area so I’m not sure.
Could you possibly kindly tell me what Absolem will turn into?
Signature: Jennifer Williamson

Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Jennifer,
Sweet Basil is not a plant listed on African Moths as being a larval foodplant for the Death’s Head Hawkmoth.  That list includes:  “
Brugmansia suaveolens, Solanum jacquini, Solanum Jasminoides, Solanum macrocarpon, Tabebuia pallida, Clerodendrum ugandense, Mormordica charantia, Vitex, Jasminum pubigerum, Spathodea, Duranta erecta, Lantana camara.”  Absolem’s color is atypical for a Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar.  We wonder if he would prefer a different food plant.

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