Silkmoth Caterpillar from Mexico: Which Syssphinx is it???

WHAT is this caterpillar?
Location: Alamos Sonora MX
August 5, 2011 1:09 pm
Suddenly there are many of theses large (2 inch av.) caterpillars under a large old Mesquite tree. I’m not sure if theyre falling from the tree, havent witnessed it, but, before they appeared and to this day also, there is much small green organic chunks, soft but size of dry pea, also falling from the tree and covering the ground. I’m told the chunks are casings from same.
Personally I would lose this tree if it were me if this came to pass every year. it’s too much to bear right smack in the patio outside my door.
Signature: Pepe

Pre-Pupal Syssphinx Caterpillar

Hi Pepe,
This is the caterpillar of one of the Silkmoths in the genus
Syssphinx, but there are least 19 species and subspecies in Mexico according to the World’s Largest Saturniidae website, and many have remarkably similar looking Caterpillars, so we are reluctant to attempt to identify the species.  We have contacted Bill Oehlke to see if he is able to provide more specific information.  Here is a link to BugGuide to what might be your caterpillar, Syssphinx hubbardi, Hubbard’s Small Silkmoth.  It should also be noted that the green organic chunks you mentioned are caterpillar droppings, and they are an excellent indication that Caterpillars are feeding on the leaves.  Also the coloration of your Caterpillar indicates that it is pre-pupal, and it is most likely seeking a location to bury itself to metamorphose into the pupa.  

I would say your absolutely right. That’s the guy. Maybe I’ll shovel em up and stick them on some dirt somewhere’s. ( The amount of droppings is astounding last 4/5 days)!
Thanks mucho.

3 thoughts on “Silkmoth Caterpillar from Mexico: Which Syssphinx is it???”

  1. I found the exact same kind of caterpillar. I think it was an adult wandering around for somewhere to start its metamorphosis. I found it in the parking space next to me as I got out of my car. I picked it up because I knew it would get squished if I left it there. I put it in a tupperware with some greenery while I did research on it. Ive seen this kind of caterpillar before and was wondering where would be a good place for me to return it to where it could have its natural foodsource. Anywho I couldn’t find anything on it that night so I just put it outside in my potted plant as I didn’t know if the plastic tupperware would harm it in anyway. The next morning I went to check on it and it was still in the plant soil but it was cocooned! Its been a really cool observing it so far. I was just wondering if its okay to leave it there. I’m in Tucson Az and we are in our monsoon season and have been getting really heavy winds and hard rainstorms. I don’t know if that kind of weather outside will harm it in anyway or if I should move it to one of my inside plants. I also have no idea how long it will be in that state or if there’s anything I should do to make it more comfortable. I read so far that they usually go under the soil to do this part but this one is just straight on top of the soil.


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