Subject: Spotted caterpillar from Ecuador
Geographic location of the bug: Jorupe Reserve, near Macará, Loja, Ecuador (near the Peruvian border)
Time: 11:47 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I photographed this caterpillar (2-3 inches long) at the Jorupe Reserve on March 9. The size and pattern of the eye-spots on the side look similar to those on some Eumorpha caterpillars, but I haven’t found a match to this.
How you want your letter signed: David
This is a beautiful Caterpillar, and because of its resemblance to the North American Achemon Sphinx Caterpillar and Pandorus Sphinx Caterpillar, we are quite confident it is also a member of the genus Eumorpha. Caterpillars of moths in the family Sphingidae are commonly called Hornworms because most members of the family have caudal horns. Members of the genus Eumorpha frequently lose their caudal horns during the molting process. We could not find any matching images on Sphingidae of the Americas, but many species on the site are lacking images of the caterpillars. We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide a species identification. We hope you will allow Bill to post your image to his site if he is able to assist.
Bill Oehlke Responds.
I sent image to Jean Haxaire and he indicates it is Eumorpha triangulum, but the plant it is on in the photo is not its natural host.
The larvae display several different colour morphs.
Ed. Note: More information on Eumorpha triangulum can be found on Sphingidae of the Americas.