Plebeian Sphinx Caterpillar

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Cape Cod, MA
July 16, 2016 3:14 pm
Just curious what this is. I’ve found a few of them this summer on the trumpet vines growing on my pergola.
Signature: Rick

Plebeian Sphinx Caterpillar
Plebeian Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Rick,
Had you not included the host plant trumpet vines, we might have had more difficulty identifying what we believe to be a Plebeian Sphinx Caterpillar,
Paratrea plegeja.  Our usual “go to” site for Sphinx Moth identifications, Sphingidae of the Americas, does not have images of the caterpillar.  Then we searched for the family and trumpet vine and we found the Maryland Insect site with a single image of the Plebeian Sphinx Caterpillar.  There are also images on BugGuide, but the caudal horn is blue and the one in your image looks black.  BugGuide lists the species as “uncommon” and lists the larval food plants as:  “Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans), Yellow Trumpetbush (Tecoma stans), passionflower (Passiflora spp.), and lilac (Syringa spp.).”   We have written to Bill Oehlke who runs Sphingidae of the Americas for confirmation and we hope you don’t mind if he posts your image to his site as well.  

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