Polyphemus Caterpillar

Some type of sphinx caterpillar
Location: Palm Beach County FL
December 1, 2010 5:56 am
I found this beauty in my live oak tree, along with a easily 3 dozen pink-striped oakworm caterpillars. I’ve not been able to decide what type of sphinx it is, although I’ve been on this site, bugguide, and Bill Oehlke’s site as well. It doesn’t seem to have a horn, as seems to be common on so many sphinxes.
Signature: Monique

Polyphemus Caterpillar

Hi Monique,
You were unable to identify your caterpillar because it is not a Sphinx, but rather, a Giant Silkmoth.  This is a Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar, which BugGuide describes as:  “Larva: body large, bright green, with red and silvery spots below setae, and oblique yellow lines running through spiracles on abdomen; diagonal streak of black and silver on ninth abdominal segment; head and true legs brown; base of primary setae red, subdorsal and lateral setae have silver shading below; end of prolegs with yellow ring, and tipped in black.

16 thoughts on “Polyphemus Caterpillar”

  1. I have a female Spicebush Moth who laid around 25-40 infertile eggs. I found her just out of the cocoon and it must not have gone well because she was mutilated. Anyways, I stuck her and the eggs outside for about an hour and a male had found her. After mating she began laying a lot more eggs. Now I wonder, I read they hatch in a few weeks, what does their diet consist of, I want to make sure the ones that hatch have plenty of food. I have never raised this type of moth before.

    • If you are inquiring about a Spicebush Silkmoth, Callosamia promethea, according to BugGuide, the “larvae feed on leaves of apple, ash, basswood, birch, cherry, lilac, maple, sassafras, sipcebush, sweetgum, tulip-tree (1); also recorded on buttonbush, magnolia, and other trees”


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