Five-Spotted Hawk Moth Life Cycle: A Fascinating Journey Unveiled

The five-spotted hawk moth, scientifically known as Manduca quinquemaculatus, is an intriguing insect species. Not only does it play a vital role in pollination, but it also has a fascinating life cycle.

Throughout their development, these moths undergo a series of transformation stages, known as metamorphosis. From egg to larva, then pupa, and finally, the adult moth, each stage is marked by unique characteristics. For instance, the larvae, commonly known as tomato hornworms, have a green or brown body with eight white chevrons on each side and a distinct black “horn” at their abdomen’s end. These hornworms primarily feed on tomato, tobacco, potato, and other members of the nightshade family [1].

Adult five-spotted hawk moths are large and heavy-bodied insects with a long, pointed abdomen. They are known for their remarkable ability to hover near flowers, feeding on nectar using a very long proboscis [2].

Life Cycle of the Five-Spotted Hawk Moth

Egg Stage

The Five-Spotted Hawk Moth begins its life as an egg. Eggs are typically laid singly on leaves or stems of host plants. They hatch in about a week.

Larval Stage

  • Once hatched, the larvae feed on host plants.
  • Five larval instars (growth stages) occur over approximately 3-4 weeks.
  • Known for their distinct horn-like protrusion on their posterior end.

Pupal Stage

  • Larvae transform into pupae within a loose cocoon.
  • Pupal stage lasts for 2-3 weeks, depending on environmental conditions.
  • Moths emerge from pupae when fully developed.

Adult Stage

Features:

  • Large and heavy bodied
  • Long, pointed abdomen
  • Forewings are long and pointed, sometimes with angled or irregular margins ¹

Characteristics:

  • Hover near flowers
  • Feed on nectar via long proboscis
  • Active during the night, maintaining high body temperatures ²

The Five-Spotted Hawk Moth goes through a complete life cycle, including the egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages. This can vary in duration based on environmental factors and host plant availability.

Host Plants and Feeding Habits

Caterpillar Diet

The Five-Spotted Hawk Moth, also known as the Tomato Hornworm, has a distinct caterpillar diet. Their primary food sources are plants in the Solanaceae family, including:

  • Tomato
  • Potato
  • Tobacco
  • Eggplant

Caterpillars feed on the leaves of these plants, causing significant damage to the foliage. One distinguishing feature of the caterpillar is the horn located on its hind end.

Adult Moth Diet

As adult moths, their diet shifts from leaves to nectar. These moths are equipped with a long proboscis to feed on nectar from various flowers. The color of adult moths can range from white to brown or gray, which helps with camouflage.

Some common nectar-rich flowers visited by adult Five-Spotted Hawk Moths include:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Dogbane
  • Cherries
  • Plums

Comparison table:

Caterpillar Adult Moth
Diet Leaves of Solanaceae plants Nectar from various flowers
Features Flexible horn at the hind end Long proboscis for nectar extraction
Example plants Tomato, potato, tobacco, eggplant Honeysuckle, dogbane, cherries, plums

Identification and Physical Characteristics

Caterpillar Identification

  • The caterpillars of the five-spotted hawk moth (manduca quinquemaculata) belong to the Sphingidae family.
  • They are characterized by having a series of diagonal white stripes on their sides and a prominent black horn on the rear end.

For a quick comparison with the closely related Manduca sexta caterpillar:

Feature Manduca quinquemaculata Manduca sexta
Stripes Diagonal white stripes Parallel white stripes
Horn Black horn Red-tinted black horn

Adult Moth Identification

The adult five-spotted hawk moth shares some physical features with its relatives in the Sphingidae family. Key characteristics include:

  • A long, pointed abdomen
  • A wingspan ranging from 10-12 cm
  • Long, tapered forewings
  • Relatively shorter and more rounded hindwings

The coloration of manduca quinquemaculata primarily consists of grayish shades on its wings. Meanwhile, the closely related Manduca sexta (Carolina Sphinx Moth) can be distinguished by:

  • Six pairs of yellow spots along its abdomen
  • A wavy subterminal line on the forewing
  • Narrow white marks on the fringes of both forewing and hindwing
  • Hindwing zigzag black median lines fused together, leaving little white space

In summary, the five-spotted hawk moth can be identified by its unique caterpillar markings and features, as well as the adult moth’s abdomen, wingspan, forewing, and hindwing characteristics.

Habitat and Distribution

The Five-Spotted Hawk Moth (Manduca quinquemaculatus) can be found in various regions across North America. This includes the United States, Southern Canada, Southeast, Great Plains, and Mexico. Let’s look at some specific characteristics of its distribution and habitat.

  • North America: The moth is widespread throughout this continent, from Southern Canada to Mexico.
  • United States: They are common in many states, especially in the Southeast and Great Plains regions.
  • Southern Canada: Though not as common, the moths can be found in areas with suitable habitat such as gardens and fields.
  • Southeast: They thrive in warmer climates, making the Southeast ideal for their population.
  • Great Plains: With vast open spaces and agricultural lands, this area provides ample resources for these moths to flourish.
  • Mexico: Their range in Mexico includes both northern and central regions, extending down to Guatemala.

The Five-Spotted Hawk Moth favors habitats with an abundant supply of their preferred host plants, such as tomato, tobacco, and potato plants, as well as other members of the nightshade family.

During their life cycle, these moths experience changes in their habitat preferences. As larvae, known as tomato hornworms, they primarily feed on the leaves of plants in the nightshade family. Adult moths, on the other hand, visit nocturnal flowers with pale or white blooms, heavy fragrance, and copious, dilute nectar during their impressive pollination process. Both nocturnal and diurnal moths can be found depending on the region.

Behavior and Flight Patterns

Dusk and Night Activity

Hawkmoths, like the five-spotted hawkmoth, are known for their activity during dusk and nighttime hours. These insects are well-adapted to living in the dark, as seen in their high body temperature, which allows them to fly in cooler temperatures.

  • Active at dusk and nighttime
  • Can maintain high body temperature for cooler environments

Flight Pattern

Hawkmoths have a unique flight pattern that allows them to hover near flowers, feeding on nectar via their long proboscis. The wing shape varies among species, with some having long, pointed forewings, while others have angled or irregular margins.

  • Hover near flowers to feed on nectar
  • Long, pointed forewings in some species

Pollination and Oviposition

Hawkmoths are known for their pollination abilities, with their long proboscis allowing them to access nectar from various flowers. Their flight patterns ensure they transfer pollen between plants, aiding in fertilization. Female hawkmoths lay eggs on the leaves of suitable host plants, ensuring their offspring have an optimal habitat and a sufficient food source.

  • Pollinate flowers during nighttime activity
  • Lay eggs on host plant leaves for optimal habitat
Aspect Dusk and Night Activity Flight Pattern Pollination and Oviposition
Activity Time Dusk and nighttime Dusk and night Dusk and nighttime
Unique Features High body temperature Hovering Long proboscis
Function Adaptation for night life Feeding on nectar Pollination and egg laying

By taking advantage of their dusk and nighttime activity, unique moth flight patterns, and pollination and oviposition abilities, the five-spotted hawkmoth has successfully adapted to its ecological niche.

Pest Management and Control

Signs of Infestation

Tomato hornworms, the larval stage of the five-spotted hawk moth, are a common pest in gardens. They primarily feed on tomato plants, but can also damage other fruit crops. Signs of infestation include:

  • Chewed leaves and stems
  • Dark green droppings on leaves and ground
  • Presence of hornworms on plants

Pest Control Methods

There are several eco-friendly pest control methods for the Carolina Sphinx moth and hornworms. For instance:

  • Hand-picking: Physically remove hornworms from plants.
  • Trichogramma wasps: Utilize Trichogramma, tiny parasitic wasps that target hornworm eggs.

Pros:

  • Natural and chemical-free
  • Poses no harm to plants and other insects
  • Supports conservation of beneficial predators

Cons:

  • Time-consuming
  • Requires constant monitoring
Method Benefits Drawbacks
Hand-picking Non-toxic, cost-effective Labour-intensive, time-consuming
Trichogramma wasps Biological control, supports ecology Requires purchasing and releasing

In conclusion, managing pests like the Carolina Sphinx moth and its larval stage, the tomato hornworm, can be achieved through eco-friendly methods like hand-picking and using Trichogramma wasps. Keeping a vigilant eye on your garden and employing these methods can help protect your plants and maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Classification and Taxonomy

The Five-spotted Hawk Moth belongs to the kingdom Animalia, which includes all animals. Within the animal kingdom, it falls under the class Insecta, containing insects. The moth’s classification further narrows down to the family Sphingidae and the genus Manduca.

Here’s a comparison table to help visualize the moth’s classification:

Taxonomic Rank Name
Kingdom Animalia
Class Insecta
Family Sphingidae
Genus Manduca

The family Sphingidae, also known as hawk moths or sphinx moths, is characterized by its large size, heavy body, and long, pointed abdomen. Some common features include:

  • Hovering near flowers while feeding on nectar
  • Long proboscis (mouth tube or “tongue”)

The Five-spotted Hawk Moth, like others in the genus Manduca, has specific characteristics that set them apart from other genera within the family Sphingidae. These features consist of:

  • Distinctive five spots on their wings
  • Adaptation to warm up by shivering before flying on cool nights (source)

In conclusion, understanding the classification and taxonomy of the Five-spotted Hawk Moth provides insight into its unique features and adaptations within the animal kingdom.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Subject: Elephant Worm
Location: Rome, Georgia
October 13, 2012 9:58 pm
Dear Bugman,
I am trying to figure out what kind of worm this is. My daughter and I was out at the river in Rome, Georgia over at Ridge Ferry Park and we came across this worm. It is pretty interesting. I wasn’t able to get a photo of it when it was rolled up it looked like the 2 spots on its head was eyeballs.
Signature: Thank you or Sincerely

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

This is the caterpillar of a Tersa Sphinx, and unfortunately, your best photo has cropped off one of its most distinguishing features, the caudal horn.

here are a few sites with the correct WORM that I was asking about…
It is an ELEPHANT HAWKSHEAD MOTH Caterpillar
http://www.pbase.com/image/85044435
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deilephila_elpenor
http://www.dgsgardening.btinternet.co.uk/elephantmth.htm

With all due respect, though there is a similarity in appearance, the Elephant Hawkmoth is not found in Georgia and the Tersa Sphinx does include Georgia as part of its normal range. The PBase photo is from Pembrokeshire, Wales.  The Wikipedia website, which we rarely quote from, states:  “The species is found throughout Britain and Ireland. Its range extends across Europe, Russia, and into China, northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, Japan and Korea (though not Taiwan). Introduced specimens have been found in British Columbia.”  The Down Garden Services website is also a UK site.  Here is a BugGuide photo of a Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar from Douglas County, Georgia, and here is another BugGuide photo of a Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar from Deluth, Georgia.  We would not discount the possibility that an Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar might be introduced to Georgia, but we find that possibility unlikely.  BugGuide does note:  “Reportedly introduced to British Columbia ca. 1995.”  Furthermore, the markings on your caterpillar are closer to those of the Tersa Sphinx than to the Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpiller, though we acknowledge the similarity.  We will also check with Sphingidae expert Bill Oehlke to get his opinion.

Bill Oehlke settles the dispute.
Hi Daniel,
The person who submitted the photo probably won’t believe me either, but it
is definitely Xylophanes tersa.
You might invite him or her to have a look at elpenor at
http://tpittaway.tripod.com/sphinx/d_elp.htm and suggest he count the number
of “eyespots” along the sides of the caterpillar.
Elpenor also is not found in Georgia.

Letter 2 – Probably color variation of Hyles lineata

 

what’s this?
We discovered this caterpillar on our 4 o’clocks about a week ago and they have stripped the foliage. We have had those flowers for four summers and have never seen these caterpillars. Can you identify them for us? We live in Fallon, Nevada
Carleen Tucker

Hi Carleen,
We believe this to be a color variation of the highly variable Striped Morning Sphinx Caterpillar, Hyles lineata.

Letter 3 – Sketches of the Metamorphosis of Xanthopan morgani

 

Subject: Xanthopan morgani caterpillar drawing
Location: Afrotropical area
May 1, 2016 4:08 pm
Dear Daniel,
today I’d like to contribute a drawn sketch of Xanthopan larva and pupa, which are seldom found and seen and have not yet been shown to public as photographs for quite some decennies now, a kind of mystery considering the role and popularity of the famous moth in contexts of coevolution theories and orchid pollination – and the fact that it is spread in the entire African rainforest zone including Madagascar, and not rare at all, according to reported findings of adults… Maybe it will inspire or help somebody to catch sight of one on leafs or on a twig of an Annona plant (Annona squamosa, A. muricata, A. reticulata and other Custard apple- relatives and a few vines (Xylopia, Uvaria) from the Annonaceae-family, on which the larvae reportedly feed, or eventually another plant species not yet known as its foodplant… ); it is blue-green with whitish lateral stripes and slightly hairy, similar to the neotropical Neococytius caterpillars…
Best Thanks and wishes for the wonderful and helpful site,
Bostjan
Signature: Bostjan Dvorak

Sketch of Xanthopan by Bostjan Dvorjak
Sketch of metamorphosis of  Xanthopan morgani by Bostjan Dvorak

Thanks so much Bostjan for allowing us to post your wonderful drawings of this marvelous moth whose existence was theorized by Charles Darwin many years before it was actually discovered since the great evolutionary theorist hypothesized such a moth must exist to pollinate the orchid from Madagascar with a blossom possessing a ten inch throat.  Darwin knew only a Sphinx Moth would have a proboscis long enough to extract the nectar.  We had to correct the perspective of your images and we also increased the contrast.  We hope our digital enhancements meet with your approval.  We hope that one day one of our readers will supply us with the images you so long to see.  The coiled sheath for the proboscis is amazing.

Sketch of larva and pupa of Xanthopan morgani by Bostjan Dvorak
Sketch of larva and pupa of Xanthopan morgani by Bostjan Dvorak

Update from Bostjan:  February 15, 2019
Subject:  Xanthopan morgani caterpillar
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Daniel,
on the 1st of May 2016, I submitted some sketches of the Xanthopan larva and pupa, which You kindly published and commented on this nice site, and I expressed my hope that, once in the future, sobebody may eventually find and document this caterpillar… It is a mysterious fact that this species’s larva has not been found for many decennies, maybe some 60 years or more, and there was no access to any picture of it so far…
Just imagine – this day has now arrived. – When looking for some unknown hawk-moth records, as every year, and combining the search with „Tanzania“, I finally happened to discover a further photograph of „un unidentified Sphingidae caterpillar“, taken by this Dutch photographer with the user name „Parhassus“during one of his expeditions to Tanzania: https://parhassus.weebly.com/moths-unidentified.html
which obviously shows a caterpillar of Xanthopan morgani, munchning leaves on a twig of an Annona species. The picture has been taken on 26th of June 2017 in the nature reserve Amani. I didn’t find it last year, as I typed in „unidentified larva from Tanzania“ instead of using the word „caterpillar“ – in order to avoid results with bulldozers…
Thus an animal finally appears after a search of more than 30 years! – The species seems to imitate mouldy fruits, as may also be the case in its neotropic relatives like Neococytius, Cocytius and Amphimoea.
Best wishes and Godbless to You and this great site – and happy Valentine’s day to everybody.

Thanks so much for the update Bostjan.  I wish it was possible to link to just the image of the Hornworm.

Update from Bostjan Dvorak:  May 11, 2019
2nd new record of a Xanthopan morganii larva by Sunchana Bradley
Dear Daniel,
just a new surprise about the Xanthopan morganii caterpillars – this record by Sunchana Bradley from Durban, SA, which I came across today, might show that the records may occur in a cumulative way – or that the species is getting slightly more common within the last few years…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/caterpillarrg/photos/
https://www.facebook.com/bostjan.dvorak
Best wishes and a happy Mother’s Day,
Bostjan

 

 

Letter 4 – Smashed by a Rock: Barba Roja from Mexico is Pachylia syces syces

 

Barbaroja caterpiller, striped, hisses.
Location:  El Salvador, near Chalate.
September 8, 2010 4:47 pm
This is my link to the photo, I am El Salvador, near Chalate, this is a caterpillar that hisses and they call it Barbaroja, I am searching the internet for it´s real name, please can you identify this for me. I am sorry I can´t post the real photo. I am in a public computer. I am linking you to my blog.
Signature:  Monica

Pachylia syces syces Caterpillar

Dear Monica,
Your photo is of terribly low resolution and it is blurry, an at first we thought this might be the caterpillar of a Tetrio Sphinx, but we have found a match to
Pachylia syces syces on Bill Oehlke’s website which states:  “In the early instars, larvae greatly resemble Pseudosphinx tetrio or a coral snake. They thrash about when disturbed and also ‘squeak’.”    Bill also writes:  “Larvae are reported to feed on Ficus microcarpa, Ficus prinoides, Ficus ovalis and Artocarpus integrifolia in Brazil.”  We can assure you that your neighbor Celina is misinformed.  You credit her with the following flight of fancy on your blog:  “She saw it and gasped. ‘Se pica! Matalo. Matalo!’  She picked up a rock from the back and smashed it.  The name of this insect is  Barba Roja translates to Red beard? How it stings is it opens its mouth and sticks out its tongue and bites you. The tongue is what pinches you. The venom makes the wound swell up and it will hurt for days. It is worse than getting bitten by a scorpion around here. She was bitten by Barbararoja when she was cutting weeds with her machete.”  There are many caterpillars that sting, but those in the family Sphingidae are not among them.

Thank you. I will correct the info on my blog. I am glad I wrote to you. Everyone has a different story about the Pachylia syces. It did thrash around, and squeaks. Celina told me there are two types, one that doesn´t sting and the other that does. And the way she described how it stings creeped me out. But according to Bill Oehlke´s website it doesn´t seem to sting, I will read it again.But yes that is the caterpillar. Sorry about the poor resolution. -Monica

Letter 5 – Snake Mimic: Hemeroplanes triptolemus

 

Updated (07/02/2008) (10/15/2005) amazonian caterpillar
Hello,
I spotted this beautiful caterpillar during a trip to the Mamirauá reserve in the Amazon rainforest. I understand there are a few species that present this snake mimicking behavior, but I haven’t found the right match for this one yet. Can you help? Thanks and congratulations on your website.
Pablo
Mexico City

Hola Pablo,
Wow, your photo is awesome. Sadly we can’t identify this amazing mimic. Please update us if you ever identify it.

Hello Daniel,
I did some more research here and came across an amazing book on camouflage, mimetism and the like by Roger Caillois. The book’s name is Medusa and Company. He describes four species with similar behavior, of these only one lives in the Amazon, and the position this one adopts surely fits the description. The name is Leucorampha Ornatus (or ornata). I could only find a few pages on the web referring to this species, all in french or italian.
all the best
Pablo

Update: (07/02/2008)
Snake Mimic- 10/15/2005 Amazonian caterpillar
Hi,
I’ve been researching bugs for my library’s summer reading program, and your website has been very interesting to me! I’ve enjoyed seeing all the wonderful photos and even identifying some of the caterpillars in my area. I think I can identify the photo of the Amazonian caterpillar in fact, it is part of an upcoming story time! This looks like a Hemeroplanes triptolemus, which mimics a snake by rolling onto its back and “flaring” the area around the head to scare off would-be predators. There are several websites with good pictures of this caterpillar, as well as the moth it becomes (some type of Sphinx). Thanks for your wonderful website!
Kim

Hi Kim,
Thanks for the information. We checked and found images of the caterpillar and moth on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website. We beleive you are correct. The photo submitted to us three years ago looks even more snakelike than the ones on Bill Oehlke’s site.

Letter 6 – Snake Mimic: Hemeroplanes triptolemus

 

Updated (07/02/2008) (10/15/2005) amazonian caterpillar
Hello,
I spotted this beautiful caterpillar during a trip to the Mamirauá reserve in the Amazon rainforest. I understand there are a few species that present this snake mimicking behavior, but I haven’t found the right match for this one yet. Can you help? Thanks and congratulations on your website.
Pablo
Mexico City

Hola Pablo,
Wow, your photo is awesome. Sadly we can’t identify this amazing mimic. Please update us if you ever identify it.

Hello Daniel,
I did some more research here and came across an amazing book on camouflage, mimetism and the like by Roger Caillois. The book’s name is Medusa and Company. He describes four species with similar behavior, of these only one lives in the Amazon, and the position this one adopts surely fits the description. The name is Leucorampha Ornatus (or ornata). I could only find a few pages on the web referring to this species, all in french or italian.
all the best
Pablo

Update: (07/02/2008)
Snake Mimic- 10/15/2005 Amazonian caterpillar
Hi,
I’ve been researching bugs for my library’s summer reading program, and your website has been very interesting to me! I’ve enjoyed seeing all the wonderful photos and even identifying some of the caterpillars in my area. I think I can identify the photo of the Amazonian caterpillar in fact, it is part of an upcoming story time! This looks like a Hemeroplanes triptolemus, which mimics a snake by rolling onto its back and “flaring” the area around the head to scare off would-be predators. There are several websites with good pictures of this caterpillar, as well as the moth it becomes (some type of Sphinx). Thanks for your wonderful website!
Kim

Hi Kim,
Thanks for the information. We checked and found images of the caterpillar and moth on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website. We beleive you are correct. The photo submitted to us three years ago looks even more snakelike than the ones on Bill Oehlke’s site.

Request:  February 23, 2010
Snake Caterpillar (Hemeroplanes Triptolemus)
Hi there,
I work for a UK television show on the BBC presented by Stephen Fry called QI. We were looking at including a question based on mimicry and in particualr were looking for a photo of the subject above. You have a great one on 2005/10/13/snake-mimic-hemeroplanes-triptolemus-2/ Where it is puffing out it’s neck. Who originally took the photograph? And would it be possible to put us in touch with wherever it came from?
Many Thanks
James

Alas James, we do not keep contact information for submissions to our website.  We cannot contact Pablo from Mexico City.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

10 thoughts on “Five-Spotted Hawk Moth Life Cycle: A Fascinating Journey Unveiled”

  1. Hola Pablo, te escribo porque estoy muy interesada en la foto que tomaste del “viper caterpillar”. Estoy haciendo una investigación y me gustaría saber si tienes mas fotos de este momento. Entiendo que fue hace mucho tiempo, pero tal vez tengas información adicional. Estoy buscando el nombre de la planta en la que se encuentra el animal. Si tienes mas fotos de este evento, te lo agradeceria. Andrea/

    Reply
  2. Thank You so much Daniel for so greatly mounting this sketch by the perfect perspective and contrast – and for Your wonderful comment!

    Best wishes

    Reply
    • You are most welcome Bostjan. Contributions like yours make our site what it is, and our readers have benefited greatly from the numerous identifications and corrections you have provided to our Sphinx Moth and Hornworm archives.

      Reply
  3. Thank You so much Daniel for so greatly mounting this sketch by the perfect perspective and contrast – and for Your wonderful comment!

    Best wishes

    Reply
  4. Dear Daniel,
    I was lucky again to find one more record of this species’ larva – on a photo taken by the photographer Tom Cabin in September of 2016 – when looking for “unidentified caterpillar from Congo” this Easter; the plant’s stem could be of an Annona senegalensis, but no leaf is visible. The nice bluish larva is a real attraction: https://collector-secret.proboards.com/thread/637/toms-butterfly-adventures?page=10.

    Have a great week and nice Holiday,
    Bostjan

    Reply
  5. Dear Daniel,
    I was lucky again to find one more record of this species’ larva – on a photo taken by the photographer Tom Cabin in September of 2016 – when looking for “unidentified caterpillar from Congo” this Easter; the plant’s stem could be of an Annona senegalensis, but no leaf is visible. The nice bluish larva is a real attraction: https://collector-secret.proboards.com/thread/637/toms-butterfly-adventures?page=10.

    Have a great week and nice Holiday,
    Bostjan

    Reply
  6. Dear Daniel,

    For the Pentecostal day
    (on the last of this years’ May)
    a new record with delay:

    Few days after Easter, I happened to look for a “Hornworm from Tanzania” by the search engine – and when doing so, a colorful caterpillar appeared among other photo hits; despite it’s truly unusual colors, a closer look of it’s physiognomy revealed a further Xanthopan morganii caterpillar – obviously showing this species’ prepupal stage of the larva, i.e. the so called “prepupa” on the ground before final moulting, for the first time (on an accessible photo). Lau and Leesha Mafuru from the non-profit organization “Boma Africa” added the photo with the title “and… check out this amazing hornworm!” to the end of their blog contribution “2017 In a Nutshell”:

    < https://bomaafricasafaris.com/2018/01/15/2017-in-a-nutshell/

    The picture also shows that a few physiognomy details of this species' larva are amazingly similar, almost identical to those of the asian Cocytiini-member Cerberonoton rubescens. The beautiful orange-colored pattern, only appearing in the prepupal stage of the african species, may reflect a mimic or aposematic adaptation on the ground.

    Great Withsun days and wishes to You and all WTB members, with Thanks für the wonderful site
    Bostjan

    Reply
  7. Dear Daniel,

    For the Pentecostal day
    (on the last of this years’ May)
    a new record with delay:

    Few days after Easter, I happened to look for a “Hornworm from Tanzania” by the search engine – and when doing so, a colorful caterpillar appeared among other photo hits; despite it’s truly unusual colors, a closer look of it’s physiognomy revealed a further Xanthopan morganii caterpillar – obviously showing this species’ prepupal stage of the larva, i.e. the so called “prepupa” on the ground before final moulting, for the first time (on an accessible photo). Lau and Leesha Mafuru from the non-profit organization “Boma Africa” added the photo with the title “and… check out this amazing hornworm!” to the end of their blog contribution “2017 In a Nutshell”:

    < https://bomaafricasafaris.com/2018/01/15/2017-in-a-nutshell/

    The picture also shows that a few physiognomy details of this species' larva are amazingly similar, almost identical to those of the asian Cocytiini-member Cerberonoton rubescens. The beautiful orange-colored pattern, only appearing in the prepupal stage of the african species, may reflect a mimic or aposematic adaptation on the ground.

    Great Withsun days and wishes to You and all WTB members, with Thanks für the wonderful site
    Bostjan

    Reply

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