Subject: Moth Caterpillar inf California
July 16, 2014 7:27 am
My husband found this caterpillar on our garden 5 days ago and has been keeping it in a plastic bowl and feeding it with leaves so it won’t eat our plants. Do you know what this is? How long will it be before it turns into a moth or a butterfly? Thanks! We live in Chino Hills, California and it is the middle of summer.
Your caterpillar is a Tobacco Hornworm, Manduca sexta, one of two closely related, similar looking species that feeds on the leaves of tomatoes and other related plants in the family. According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website: “Tobacco Hornworms, equipped with a red-tipped horn at the end of the abdomen, are true gluttons and feed on tobacco and tomato, and occasionally potato and pepper crops and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).”