Tersa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar: Essential Facts Uncovered

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The tersa sphinx moth caterpillar is a fascinating creature that goes through an incredible transformation to become the equally impressive tersa sphinx moth. These caterpillars are known for their distinct appearance with a horn-like tail, making them easily recognizable. Here’s what you need to know about these captivating creatures.

As a caterpillar, the tersa sphinx munches on leaves for nourishment, eventually growing to their full size. This growth marks the beginning of their journey to metamorphosis. The tersa sphinx moth itself has a wingspan of 2 3/8 to 3 1/8 inches, showcasing grayish-brown forewings with a pale line extending to the tip, contrasting against darker lines on each side.

Being familiar with the lifecycle of the tersa sphinx moth caterpillar can make observing these insects in nature all the more enjoyable. From small caterpillar to fully grown moth, the tersa sphinx is a testament to the beauty and diversity of the insect world.

General Overview

The Tersa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar is a fascinating creature that belongs to the Animalia kingdom and the Arthropoda phylum. Specifically, it falls under the Insecta class and Lepidoptera order, where it is a part of the Sphinx Moths family. Its scientific name is Xylophanes tersa.

You may recognize this caterpillar for its distinctive features, such as:

  • A horn-like tail
  • Green or brown coloration
  • Well-defined diagonal white stripes

Morphing into a beautiful moth after its caterpillar stage, the Tersa Sphinx Moth is an exciting species to learn about. Its adult stage comes with some captivating traits:

  • Narrow wings
  • Pointed and swept-back forewings
  • Brown and white marbled appearance

Living mainly in North and Central America, the Tersa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar is especially drawn to larval host plants. Examples include:

  • Pentas
  • Borreria
  • Smooth buttonplant

As you explore the fascinating world of Xylophanes tersa, you’ll find its life cycle, habitat, and behavior to be both remarkable and diverse. Enjoy discovering more about this captivating species and its place in the fascinating world of Sphinx Moths.

Physical Characteristics

Moth Stage

The tersa sphinx moth, Xylophanes tersa, has a fairly large wingspan ranging from 2⅜ to 3⅛ inches. Its forewings are grayish-brown with a pale line extending to the tip, framed by darker lines on each side. The hind wings display large black patches with contrasting pale spots.

Caterpillar Stage

In the caterpillar stage, you’ll find the tersa sphinx moth in brown and green forms. Here are some distinguishing features of the caterpillar:

  • Smooth and relatively hairless body
  • Large, bulbous, green or brown body
  • Angular and triangular ivory-yellow markings
  • Possesses a prominent eyespot

The caterpillars can be found feeding on foliage of starclusters (Pentas species) and other woody plants, such as buttonplant, firebush, Manettia, strongbark, and wild coffee.

Feature Brown Form Green Form
Color of the abdomen Brown Green
Eyespot Present Present
Ivory-yellow triangle Present Present
Smoothness Smooth Smooth
Hairiness Less Hairy Less Hairy

These characteristics will help you identify the tersa sphinx moth caterpillar more easily in both its brown and green forms.

To summarize,

  • Moth stage: grayish-brown wings with pale lines and large black patches
  • Caterpillar stage: comes in green and brown forms, with angular ivory-yellow markings and a prominent eyespot

Range and Habitat

The Tersa Sphinx moth caterpillar can be found in a variety of regions, such as North America, Mexico, and parts of South America. In the United States, it’s prevalent in areas like Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. They can also be spotted as far north as Canada and as far west as New Mexico.

These caterpillars thrive in different types of habitats, ranging from gardens to woodlands. Here’s a quick list of the places in which you might find them:

  • Gardens
  • Woodlands
  • Flowerbeds with specific host plants

In gardens, you’ll often find these caterpillars feeding on the foliage of star clusters (Pentas species). Additionally, they feed on other woody plants like buttonplants, firebush, Manettia, strongbark, and wild coffee. So, if you’re an avid gardener, don’t be surprised if you come across these critters.

By understanding their range and habitat, you’ll know where to look for these fascinating caterpillars and appreciate their presence within our ecosystem.

Life Cycle and Reproduction

Egg

The life cycle of the tersa sphinx moth begins with the egg stage. Female moths lay clusters of small, round eggs on the underside of leaves during the season. These eggs are typically found on host plants that caterpillars prefer to feed on. Within a week or so, the eggs hatch into larvae.

Larva

The larval stage, also known as the caterpillar stage, is a crucial phase in the life cycle of a tersa sphinx moth. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of plants, growing larger as they consume more foliage. As they get bigger, they may change color, often taking on a green hue to blend in with their surroundings. When fully grown, caterpillars may reach a large size, up to 80 mm in length.

During this stage, caterpillars go through several instars, or growth phases, shedding their old skin to make room for their rapidly expanding bodies. Once the tersa sphinx moth caterpillar has reached its final instar, it begins searching for a suitable location to pupate.

Pupa

Pupation is the next phase in the tersa sphinx moth’s life cycle. After finding a suitable spot, usually in the soil, the caterpillar forms a loose cocoon around itself. Inside the cocoon, the larva transforms into a pupa. The pupal stage is a period of rest and transformation, during which the caterpillar undergoes significant changes.

During this time, the pupa remains dormant, protected by the cocoon. Depending on the season and environmental conditions, the pupa can remain in this state for weeks or even months before the adult moth emerges.

Adult

Upon completing the pupal stage, the fully developed tersa sphinx moth emerges from its cocoon. Adult moths have a wingspan of 2 3/8 to 3 1/8 inches, making them fairly large in size. During this phase, the moth’s primary focus is on reproduction, seeking a mate to continue the life cycle.

Mating habits of the tersa sphinx moth involve males seeking out the females, attracted by pheromones released by the female moth. After a successful mating, the female will lay her eggs and the life cycle begins anew. Adult moths typically have a short lifespan, as their primary purpose is to reproduce and lay eggs.

Diet and Predators

Tersa sphinx moth caterpillars have a diverse diet consisting mostly of different host plants. Some of the plants they feed on include:

  • Catalpa
  • Pentas
  • Smooth buttonplant
  • Manettia
  • Starclusters
  • Chinese violet
  • Honeysuckle

These caterpillars can be found feeding on the foliage of starclusters (Pentas species) in flower gardens and other woody plants like firebush and wild coffee.

Their diet mainly consists of leaves from their host plants, and as they grow, they can consume entire leaves. While young larvae feed on the undersurfaces of leaves, older larvae can cause more noticeable damage. It’s essential to monitor your garden for their presence and prevent potential damage.

In addition to their diet, the tersa sphinx moth caterpillars face various predators in their natural habitat. Their natural enemies include birds, spiders, and parasitic wasps, which can help control their population in the wild. When you spot these caterpillars in your garden, be cautious as inviting their predators can create a balanced ecosystem to avoid any leaf damage.

Remember that it’s important to know the predators and diet of the tersa sphinx moth caterpillar to help protect your plants and maintain a healthy garden ecosystem.

Behavior Patterns

Tersa sphinx moth caterpillars exhibit some fascinating behavior patterns that make them unique. Let’s explore a few key aspects of how they live their day-to-day lives.

Compared to butterflies, which are often seen gracefully flying in open areas, sphinx moth caterpillars tend to stay in the foliage of their host plants. They feed amongst the leaves and branches, and can often be found in a sphinx position – a characteristic posture where the head is held up and the body often forms a “U” shape.

Here are the main habits of these fascinating creatures:

  • Feeding: Tersa sphinx moth caterpillars feed on a variety of plants, including starclusters, firebush, wild coffee, and other woody plants. They come in two color forms, brown and green.
  • Resting: When not actively eating, they tend to rest on the underside of their host plant’s leaves.

Sphinx moth caterpillars also have some intriguing habits when it comes to their growth and development:

  • Burying: Before they turn into pupae, they burrow underground to create a chamber where they can safely transform.
  • Emerging: Adult moths emerge from their pupae and take flight, often becoming skilled fliers with rapid, agile movements.

As for their migratory patterns, researchers are still uncovering details about this aspect of their lives. What we do know is that some sphinx moth species, like the whitelined sphinx, participate in mass migrations. These migrations may be driven by seasonal changes, host plant availability, and population density.

Conservation Status

The tersa sphinx moth caterpillar is a fascinating creature. You might be curious about its conservation status and range, and it helps to know that this species typically doesn’t pose any harm to its environment. In this section, you’ll learn more about the conservation status, habitat, and characteristics of the tersa sphinx moth caterpillar.

The conservation status for the tersa sphinx moth is not something that’s widely discussed or reported. It’s known to have a fairly wide range, and can be found across North, Central, and South America (source). Since it’s not usually considered a threat to its ecosystem, there’s not much concern about its population numbers.

Some key features of the tersa sphinx moth caterpillar include:

  • Streamlined body
  • Distinct markings for camouflage
  • Harmless to humans

Regarding its habitat, the tersa sphinx moth caterpillar prefers warmer climates. You’ll often find them in subtropical locations or similar environments. The adult moths are known to be active at dusk and are attracted to nectar-producing flowers.

In conclusion, while there isn’t a lot of information available about the conservation status of the tersa sphinx moth caterpillar, it seems that the species is not at risk and continues to thrive in its natural habitat. The creature’s streamlined, harmless nature and preference for warmer climates make it an interesting addition to the world of insects.

Interesting Facts

Looking to learn about the fascinating tersa sphinx moth caterpillar? You’re in the right place! Keep reading to explore some interesting facts about this unique creature.

The tersa sphinx moth caterpillar belongs to the Sphingidae family, which is known for its diverse and captivating species. As the caterpillar grows, it transforms into a beautiful moth. Don’t be surprised if you mistake this creature for a butterfly, since they share similar characteristics. However, the tersa sphinx moth is indeed a member of the moth family.

One exciting aspect of this caterpillar is its wingspan. When the caterpillar evolves into a moth, it boasts a wingspan of 5 to 6 centimeters. This feature, coupled with its patterned brown forewings and paler hindwings, makes it a sight to behold when in flight.

These creatures have a relatively short lifespan. In their moth stage, they only live for a few weeks, dedicating most of their time to finding a mate and laying eggs.

A key trait of the sphinx moth is its long proboscis—a tube-like mouthpart used to suck nectar from flowers. This curly and flexible apparatus allows the moth to feed while hovering, much like a hummingbird.

Here are some notable characteristics of the tersa sphinx moth caterpillar:

  • Length: Ranges from 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches when fully grown
  • Food: Feed primarily on plants from the madder family (Rubiaceae)
  • Appearance: Changes color as it matures, starting green with a patterned body and becoming plain brown before pupating

In some cases, you might need to protect your plants from these caterpillars. While generally harmless, large populations can occasionally cause significant damage to trees and shrubs. If you encounter this problem, you can consider using an insecticide specifically made for sphinx caterpillars.

Occasionally, the tersa sphinx moth can be confused with other moth species, such as the five-spotted hawk moth or the luna moth. However, its distinct wing patterns and shape can help differentiate it from similar species.

Finally, you can find these captivating creatures in various North American regions like Fort Worth, Virginia, and the spring months are an excellent time to spot them flying around in search of nectar. Their unique appearance and captivating life cycle make them a fascinating subject for both enthusiasts and casual observers alike.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Tersa Sphinx Caterpillars

 

Unknown caterpillars
Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 4:20 AM
I thought I picked two brown caterpillars with fake eyes from my mother’s penta plant in Sun City Florida yesterday. When I opened the jar to photograph them this morning, I had two browns and two greens, all with false eyes. I never kill bugs without knowing what they are but I can’t find these in my caterpillar book.
V Parsons
Central Florida

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar:  Brown Morph
Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar: Brown Morph

Dear V,
Both the green caterpillars and the brown caterpillars are the same species.  The Tersa Sphinx, like many other Sphinx Moths, have caterpillars in different colors.  These different morphs probably aid in the survival of the species.  Predators that notice the brown caterpillars may not notice the green individuals just inches away.  To see images of the adult moth and to read more about the Tersa Sphinx, Xylophanes tersa, you can search Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar:  Green Morph
Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar: Green Morph

Thank you so much! I gave the caterpillars to a friend with a lot of penta and a six-year-old grandaughter who loves bugs — she’ll take good care of them 🙂

Letter 2 – Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Subject: name this caterpillar please
Location: south east (North Carolina)
July 19, 2012 7:46 pm
Hi. My son and I. Found this fat little guy in our driveway in central NC. He is light green with black/brown eye looking spots. When he straightens out and starts crawling, a head comes out (like a turtle).
Signature: darla and daniel

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Darla and Daniel,
This is the caterpillar of the Tersa Sphinx, one of the moths in the family Sphingidae.  They are frequently found feeding on Penta in the garden.  Since the caterpillar was found on the driveway, we suspect it is getting ready to pupate and it was searching for a suitable location with plenty of surface debris.  You can see photos of other stages of development of the Tersa Sphinx on the Sphingidae of the United States website.

Letter 3 – Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar: Green Morph

 

elephant hawk moth larvae?
I found this guy while mowing the yard in NW Florida. He looks like an elephant hawk moth caterpillar based on my internet searching, but they’re supposed to be in the UK. any ideas?
Sheryl Braun

Hi Sheryl,
This is the green color morph of the Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar, Xylophanes tersa, a Florida resident. They feed on garden Penta.

Letter 4 – Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Subject: Fat Green Caterpillar with a Black horn and spots
Location: West Columbia, SC
September 9, 2012 1:52 pm
I found this today around a stump, while mowing the grass! I’ve never seen such a thing! People were telling me it sounds like a tomato or a tobacco worm, but it has no stripes like a tomato worm and has spots. What do you think?
Signature: Kaitlyn

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Kaitlyn,
The Tomato and Tobacco Hornworms are in the same family as this Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar, so there are certain similarities.  You have mentioned the differences that can be used to differentiate the Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar from other caterpillars in the family Sphingidae.  Perhaps you have penta growing nearby as that is a preferred food of the Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar.  See Sphingidae of the Americas for additional information on the Tersa Sphinx.

Letter 5 – Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Western Tiger Swallowtail catepillar
October 27, 2009
I was wondering why the leaves of my penta plant were disappearing. Then this morning I found these “eyes” staring at me. At first I thought it was a plastic toy! What an amazing critter.
Marabelle
Sugar Land, TX

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar
Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Marabelle
Though it resembles a Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, your critter is a Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar.  The Swallowtail has one set of eyespots, while the Tersa Sphinx has numerous eyespots.  The Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar does not have a caudal horn, and the Tersa Sphinx does possess a caudal horn.  Sphinx Moth caterpillars are often called Hornworms.  Penta is a typical food plant for the Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar.

Letter 6 – Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

 

What is this?
October 30, 2009
I found this caterpillar on my bricks in my flowerbed. I am having a hard time identifying it. please help. Found 10/30/2009 in Houston TX
Brandy
SE Texas

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar
Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Brandy,
This is a Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar.  We get numerous reports of them feeding on Penta.

Letter 7 – Tersa Sphinx Caterpillars

 

Subject:  What are these caterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  Selma, texas
Date: 11/02/2018
Time: 05:02 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found these caterpillars on a potted plant I had.  They have eaten almost all the leaves that I can’t remember what kind of plant it was.  I’m almost sure it was an Impatien.   I think they’re the same caterpillar but not sure.  What are they?
How you want your letter signed:  Delia

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillars

Dear Delia,
These appear to be the caterpillars of the Tersa Sphinx, which occurs in both green and brown forms.  Are you sure the plant was
Impatiens?  A preferred food plant for the Tersa Sphinx is Pentas, according to Sphingidae of the Americas.

Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar

Daniel,  thank you for your quick response.  You’re correct,  these were Pentas.  I just couldn’t remember what kind of plant it was
Delia

Letter 8 – Tersa Sphinx Metamorphosis

 

Tersa Sphinx?
Hi,
I followed this from caterpillar to chrysalis to moth. I wish I had taken some snaps of the caterpillar but I thought it might be a Palamedes Swallowtail (though it had a single horn that the swallowtail doesn’t). I was pretty surprised at what came out. I think that I have identified it as a Tersa Sphinx. I live in northeast Florida.
Richard Kevin Sharbaugh

Hi Richard,
Your Tersa Sphinx, Xylophanes tersa, metamorphosis images are a welcome addition to our site. Here is a list of larval food plants from the USGS site: Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), starclusters (Pentas species), Borreria, Catalpa, and Manettia species.

Letter 9 – Tersa Sphinx with Parasite

 

Subject: Tersa Sphinx Moth
Location: Apopka, FL
August 16, 2017 1:31 pm
Found this moth on my house, took this picture then noticed something on it that seemed to be eating into it’s side. I destroyed the thing and the moth few up to the ceiling where it is now. My question is what is the thing?
Signature: Jill

Tersa Sphinx with parasite

Dear Jill,
We suspect this might be a Dipteran parasite, perhaps a Tachinid Fly, on this Tersa Sphinx.  It is possible the infestation occurred while this moth was still a caterpillar.  We are currently searching unsuccessfully, for evidence of Tachinid Flies using Sphinx Moths as hosts.  The Moth Photographers Group has a nice parasite page.

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Sphinx Moths

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45 Comments. Leave new

  • woodland elf
    June 14, 2009 5:46 pm

    I live in middle Tennessee and just found three of these caterpillars on some of my pentas plants. Two of them are gray and one is green. They are amazing looking. This is the first time that I have found this species in my garden and I look forward to seeing the moths appear.

    Reply
  • Carrie Jahn
    June 9, 2013 11:11 am

    Are these caterpillars poisonous?

    Reply
  • Can they sting you and if so do they lose their stinger?

    Reply
  • What is the prevention that the caterpillars won’t come back? Where are they comming from?

    Reply
    • They come from eggs laid by a female Tersa Sphinx. We do not provide extermination advice.

      Reply
  • I saw a hot pink caterpillar that looks similar, but the 5 “eyes” on the sides were all white with one small dot of black or brown. There was also one brown “eye” with a white outline around it on the top center of its end. Could this be the same caterpillar, just in a different stage of metamorphosis ?

    Thanks,
    Sabina

    Reply
  • I saw a hot pink caterpillar that looks similar, but the 5 “eyes” on the sides were all white with one small dot of black or brown. There was also one brown “eye” with a white outline around it on the top center of its end. Could this be the same caterpillar, just in a different stage of metamorphosis ?

    Thanks,
    Sabina

    Reply
  • I have five of these eating a pot of Pentas. what do I do with them please?

    Reply
    • Pentas are a favored food plant, and as long as you try growing Pentas in areas where Tersa Sphinxes are found, you will likely encounter caterpillars on your plants. You can try relocating them to another food plant. According to Sphingidae of the Americas: “I often get questions about these larvae due to their voracious appetites for garden penta species. Larvae also feed on Borreria, Catalpa and Manettia spp. and Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra) and starclusters (Pentas species). They are also recorded on joe-pie weed and Hamelia patens. Lawrence E. Gilbert reports larvae on Hedyotis nigricans (Rubiaceae) at the field station in Austin (Brackenridge Field Laboratory), Texas. Frank Wiseman reports them on Heimia salicifolia (Hachinal).”

      Reply
  • Thank you for your information, I found one in my back yard yesterday, and had to find out what it was we live in Leesburg Fl. and it is a brownish gray color. it was on a Penta

    Reply
  • I was wondering what the bug was that was eating my Pentas. Interesting that they are here in Queensland Australia! I have often seen the Sphinx moth at dusk.

    Reply
  • glenda carver
    May 10, 2015 8:37 am

    YES,YES, HIS IS WHAT I HAVE. WHERE DO THEY GO WHEN THEY GET REALLY BIG. THEY CAN SURE EAT A WHOLE BUSH AT LEAST THE TOPS. IT IS WORTH IT TO WATCH THEM. MAYBE I WILL GO OUT AT NIGHT AND SEE IF I CAN FIND THEM.WHITCH IS THE MALE AND FEMALE

    Reply
  • Stephanie Chaffee
    May 28, 2015 2:46 pm

    I live in Melbourne, FL; and I found one in my butterfly garden last night. It was a greenish brownish grayish color with eyespots and a spine. It was on my pink guaro which is surrounded by red and white pentas. I didn’t see it there this morning; but now that I know it prefers pentas I will check them more carefully.

    Reply
  • Judith Riddell
    July 7, 2015 7:00 am

    Last night I went to bed with a beautiful penta and this morning it has been eaten to stubs. Found both brown and green Sphinx larva on my plant. Will they move on to some other type of plant and destroy those as well or will they remain on the stubs and spin a cocoon? Don’t want to destroy – are they good for the garden? Will my penta come back while they are in cocoon form?

    Reply
    • They will not spread to other plants as they are very specific about their diet. They will pupate underground.

      Reply
  • Hi there, my wife found one of these in our garden this morning, it was bright green, around 3 iinches long fatter than my index finger with a prominent round head with big black eyes and a single spike on it’s rear-end. We live in Essex England.

    Reply
  • If the tersa sphinx stick a dog with the stinger that comes out of its spots and on its tail can it hurt the dog in a bad way.

    Reply
  • christy brantley
    July 5, 2016 4:08 pm

    what other plant does this catapilar eat. I just saw this near a Pentax plant in North West Florida. I don’t want my husband to kill it, but I don’t want it to strip my only, New penta plant..

    Reply
    • According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on Madder Family, Rubiaceae, including Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), starclusters (Pentas species), Borreria, Manettia; and Bignoniaceae: Catalpa. Also noted, in North Carolina, from Virginia Buttonweed, Diodia virginiana, also in the Rubiaceae.”

      Reply
  • I found one of theese in my garden in the UK, is this normal?

    Reply
  • Yeah, could be one if those,
    Thanks.

    Reply
  • Yeah, could be one if those,
    Thanks.

    Reply
  • Where would they both go when they finish eating the Penta plants. I found 5 of them and now don’t know where they disappear.

    Reply
    • According to the Sphingidae of the Americas site: “Pupae probably wiggle to surface from subterranean chambers or leaf litter just prior to eclosion” and “The pupa is tan with dark markings and is formed amongst surface debris.” So, as they near the end of their lives as caterpillars, the Tersa Sphinx larvae pupate on the ground, either just below the surface of the soil or buried among leaf litter.

      Reply
  • Several on my thinning penta in Clermont, Florida. What does the moth look like?

    Reply
  • Could this species eat my tomato plant? I found two tomato hornworms in last couple of days but this one looks quite different. It has not eaten much of my tomato plant but I don’t really want to give it a chance to either. I am in central Alabama.

    Reply
  • How long is Tersa Sphinx Moth in pupa stage, please?

    Reply
    • We suspect that the dormancy would last about a month to six weeks, depending upon the temperature and other conditions.

      Reply
  • Just found one of these in my carport in east Texas. I photographed it and looked it up to identy. We have none of the known plants around us so not sure what he is eating. I have never seen one of these before. What else do they eat?

    Reply
    • According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on Madder Family, Rubiaceae, including Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), starclusters (Pentas species), Borreria, Manettia; and Bignoniaceae: Catalpa. Also noted, in North Carolina, from Virginia Buttonweed, Diodia virginiana, also in the Rubiaceae.”

      Reply
  • So I have a family (slowly dying off though) of Thersa Sphinx caterpillars. I found 2 LARGE ones Tuesday and yesterday (Wednesday) my 4yr old informs me that my dog is in the plant pots digging! Find one of the 2 in there and it seems to have made a come back, but the 2nd has not reappeared. In the process we also found 5 more babies of various sizes and colors but obviously same critter. My Pentas were stripped clean by the first 2 originals so I tried other butterfly like plants and they are NOT interested. I’m worried they remaining cats are going to die between the dog and lack of food! What can I do!?

    Reply
  • I found a really small one and I live in Michigan. I’ve no idea what he eats! I found him on a daisy flower and I can’t tell if he eats the new daisy I provided him or not . Can you please tell me if he’ll eat these or not. And I looked, there are no Penta plants anywhere nearby. Please help me keep him alive! And use English. I read in the earlier comments and I have no idea what any of those other plants are!! Thanks

    Reply
    • In the south, caterpillars are found feeding on Pentas. According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on Madder Family, Rubiaceae, including Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), starclusters (Pentas species), Borreria, Manettia; and Bignoniaceae: Catalpa. Also noted, in North Carolina, from Virginia Buttonweed, Diodia virginiana, also in the Rubiaceae.”

      Reply
  • Can this caterpillar be found in Ontario? If not, is there a similar looking one that would be found in Ontario?

    Reply
  • Shanon& Ronnie
    October 28, 2018 7:37 am

    My husband and i found a caterpillar in our driveway this in my drive way the name of the caterpillar is tersa sphinx we wanted to know more information like what kind of mop and what does the mouth look like and what do they eat

    Reply

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