Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Australia

Subject: Please tell me what this is
Location: Sydney
March 19, 2016 12:42 am
I saw this snail big thing once and didn’t even know what on earth it could be then saw it a second time and took a photo, is it possible to find out what it is?? The thing never even blinks
Signature: El

Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear El,
This Hornworm is a Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hippotion celerio, and we confirmed its identity on Butterfly House.  The reason it never even blinked is that the “eyes” are actually markings known as ocelli that have evolved to fool predators into thinking the toothsome Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar is actually a dangerous predator with large eyes.

6 thoughts on “Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Australia”

  1. Hi. We found these in our gum trees in Poukawa, Hastings, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

    Are they poisonous and what do they turn into?

    • The Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar feeds on a wide variety of plants, according to Butterfly House, but that list does not include eucalyptus, so we suspect you have encountered a different species. Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillars are not poisonous, and they will eventually transform into adult Vine Hawkmoths.


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