Gaudy Sphinx Caterpillar

Moth caterpillar
The caterpillar in the attached photographs was on the boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida, on August 26. There was no plant nearby that might have been a larval host. It was about 4 inches long and close to 1 inch in diameter. Great Batesian mimicry for a Water Moccasin, although considerably smaller. The spot on the top of the tail end (upper left in photo) would pulsate when the caterpillar was agitated — first by some ants, and then when it was moved to the side of the boardwalk so a passerby wouldn’t accidentally step on it. One person suggested an instar of the caterpillar for an Abbot’s Sphinx Moth. Can you identify?

This is a Gaudy Sphinx Caterpillar, Eumorpha labruscae, and it is quite serpentine.

5 thoughts on “Gaudy Sphinx Caterpillar”

    • The Gaudy Sphinx is found in Texas, but we do not know if they are considered common. Are you certain your identification is correct. According to the Sphingidae of the Americas: “In Florida larvae have been found on Possum Vine (Cissus sicyoides). Cissus incisa, Cissus verticillata, Eupatorium odoratum, Ludwigia, Magnolia, Parthenocissus and Vitis vinifera are all reported hosts.” We cannot find any reference to the caterpillars feeding on the leaves of citrus.

  1. Encontrei uma dessa em meu quintal. Moro em Cristalina Goias (Brasil ). Gostaria de saber se é comum essas espécie em cidades… meu quintal e todo cimentado , de onde poderá ter vindo?

  2. Any chance this is what I found in the Finger Lakes of New York state? Seems a far cry from Texas or Florida.


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