Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar

Tomato Hornworm- Not shuttlecock!
Location: Housatonic, Massachusetts.
July 29, 2011 3:13 pm
I know you get hundreds of letters, and I apologize for annoying you!
I must admit, I have learned a LOT- and I mean A LOT from your site. I can now recognize insects/arachnids/etc. (Though, I’m still much better with canine breeds).
Funny story with this is, we were outside playing badmitten. My fiance hit the shuttlecock, which landed on the ground, nothing unusual. I went to pick it up, and noticed it landed right next to this handsome guy!
I was a little shocked, as I have never seen this caterpillar more than three times in my life. I was a little wary of the ’stinger’ but I am certain he was harmless. He was heavy and, might I add, looked quite delicious.
I petted him for a while before letting him go!
So, could you guys confirm my suspicions? Thanks again, and keep up the amazing work!
Signature: Terra

Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Terra,
Many Sphinx Moth Caterpillars look quite similar, and you need to concentrate on the details to get the identifications correct.  We believe we have correctly identified your caterpillar as a Laurel Sphinx,
Sphinx kalmiae, thanks to the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  The blue caudal horn with black markings is correct, as is the black markings on the head, however, the typically black prolegs appear green in your photo.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to get his opinion.

Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar

2 thoughts on “Laurel Sphinx Caterpillar”

  1. I found one of these yesterday while doing yard work…I didn’t touch it but today I have what looks like hives or poison ivy on my side and arm…Idk if this is related to the caterpillar but now I wonder….someone also told me that they turn into the white poisonous caterpillars. .which I don’t c how…if u have any thoughts plz let me know..

    • Laurel Sphinx caterpillars do not cause skin irritation. Laurel Sphinx Caterpillars become Laurel Sphinx Moths, not “white poisonous caterpillars.” We suspect your condition is a result of encountering something else, perhaps poison ivy.


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