Ello Sphinx Caterpillar, NOT Fig Sphinx Caterpillar

Subject: Huge Neon Green Caterpillar
Location: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
January 7, 2013 2:41 pm
I just found this bug in the middle of our office. We have no idea what it is. It is huge and vibrant green. It is probably 3-4” (not stretched out).
Any help would be much appreciated.
Thank you.
Signature: David

Ello Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi David,
Do you have a potted
Ficus plant in your office?  This is a Fig Sphinx Caterpillar, Pachylia ficus, and it is a highly variable caterpillar.  We frequently get photos of green and orange Fig Sphinx Caterpillars and there is also a brown form.  We suspect this individual has been feeding on a potted Ficus plant in your office and has gone unnoticed until it got ready to pupate, at which time it left the plant and sought a suitable location for pupation.  If the plant is a new plant, the caterpillar might have arrived on the plant from the nursery.  If the plant has been in your office for some time, the female moth may have gained entry through a window and laid eggs.  For more information on the Fig Sphinx, go to the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Correction:  Ello Sphinx Caterpillar, not Fig Sphinx Caterpillar
Thanks to a comment from Ryan which we now agree with, we believe this is actually an Ello Sphinx Caterpillar,
Erinnyis ello, that might have arrived on a poinsettia.  Sphingidae of the Americas has some nice photos of Ello Sphinx Caterpillars.  When trying to identify a caterpillar, it is always helpful to know the food plant.

Yup.  That’s it.  We had poinsettias in the office for the last month.  Thanks.

2 thoughts on “Ello Sphinx Caterpillar, NOT Fig Sphinx Caterpillar”

  1. I think this might actually be an ello sphinx (Erinnyis ello) larva. Notice the mostly hidden eyespot. This species commonly feeds on poinsettia, which may have been brought into the office for the holiday season.


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