Currently viewing the category: "Hornworms"

Subjec:  Black hornworm
Geographic location of the bug:  New Brunswick, Canada
Date: 09/08/2021
Time: 01:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Several of these in my driveway today. Black/brown shiny with red horn. Three inches long approx.
How you want your letter signed:  Alice

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Alice,
This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar, Hyles gallii, and here is a matching image on BugGuide.

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  New Brunswick Canada
Date: 09/01/2021
Time: 01:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My 5 year old found this sucker hanging out today
How you want your letter signed:  Curious kids

Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Curious Kids,
This is a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles gallii, and according to Butterflies and Moths of North America:  “Fully-grown caterpillars pupate and overwinter in loose cocoons in shallow underground burrows.”  We suspect your individual was searching for a good location for pupation.

Subject:  Caterpillar ?
Geographic location of the bug:  Uk Britain
Date: 09/03/2021
Time: 07:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I found this on my decking and was surprised how aggressive and fast it was, could you identify it please
How you want your letter signed:  Mark morgan

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Mark,
This is an Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Deilephila elpenor, and according to Wildlife Insight:  “The Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar grows to 85mm in length and is one of the largest and most distinctive caterpillars to be found in the British Isles.
It is also the most frequently seen hawk-moth caterpillar, often found feeding and wandering in search for somewhere to pupate in gardens.
The species is named after the caterpillars resemblance to an elephants trunk.
When retracted the caterpillars head recoils giving the impression of a much larger head. The two large ‘eye-like’ markings behind the head also suggest a much larger animal, appearing startling to predators.”  The aggression you mention is an act.  Often Hornworms in the family Sphingidae will thrash about hoping to startle a predator into perceiving a threat.

Subject:  Green Worm?
Geographic location of the bug:  Spokane, WA
Date: 08/14/2021
Time: 02:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  found this little guy hiding in the lower crevice underneath my sliding door to the backyard. small enough to fit under the door entirely. i couldn’t see any legs and it seems to only move by flexing its body like a worm. thicker (and greener) than a worm, however. reacted a little to simply blowing in it but it didn’t react when i tapped it with a toothpick (not the sharp sides, i don’t wanna hurt it). no bigger than my index finger in length
How you want your letter signed:  Connor S.

One Eyed Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Connor,
This is not a Worm.  It is a Caterpillar, more specifically a Hornworm, a caterpillar of a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae.  Now comes the interesting part.  It sure looks like the caterpillar of a Lime Hawkmoth,
Mimas tiliae, but that is a European species that is pictured on Wildlife Insight.  12 years ago we posted a sighting of a Lime Hawkmoth in Pennsylvania and through that posting we learned that Lime Hawkmoths have already been reported in eastern Canada.  Doug Yanega, an entomologist at UC Riverside informed us:  “The Lime Hawkmoth is already known from eastern canada so Pennsylvania is just the first time it has been sighted across the US border. Probably introduced carelessly or intentionally from someone who has imported and was rearing Sphinx Moths from overseas.”  According to iNaturalist:  ” the lime hawk-moth, is a moth of the family Sphingidae. It is found throughout the Palearctic region and the Near East, and has also been identified in eastern Canada and in northern Spain (Europe).”  Twelve years have passed since that posting and it is entirely possible that the Lime Hawkmoth has either expanded its North American range across the continent or that it hitched across the country with tourists.  We might be wrong in our identification.  Perhaps Dr. Bostjan Dvorak or another specialist in the family Sphingidae will either confirm or correct our tentative identification.  If we are correct, this might be a first sighting in Washington as we are unable to locate any information on its presence there.

Update:  August 22, 2021
Thanks to a comment from Bostjan Dvorak, we have been informed that this is a One Eyed Sphinx Caterpillar, not a Lime Hawkmoth Caterpillar.

Subject:  Big bug, hot for limes
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/19/2021
Time: 06:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this fella on my lime tree, just cruising around.
Taken June 7th.
How you want your letter signed:  Bug curious

Hornworm looks like Carolina Sphinx

Dear Bug curious,
This is a Hornworm, the caterpillar of a Sphinx Moth in the Sphingidae family, and it appears to be a Carolina Sphinx which is pictured on BugGuide.  The Carolina Sphinx feeds on the leaves of tomato, pepper and other solanaceous plants and not the leaves of a lime tree.  Do you have tomatoes or other related plants nearby?

Hi Daniel.
The plants nearby are a laurel tree, a rosemary plant, and a Portuguese blood orange tree.
About 50 feet away are some habanero plants, so maybe that’s it.
No tomatoes.
Basil? That’s not far away either, about 50 feet in another direction.

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Winnipeg, Mb
Date: 06/16/2021
Time: 03:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this caterpillar with a blue/green/white colouring and dark green bands with an orange spot on its back. Can’t find the species anywhere!
How you want your letter signed:  Lauren

Abbott’s Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Lauren,
This is a Caterpillar of an Abbott’s Sphinx Moth,
Sphecodina abbottii, and you can verify that by comparing your individual to this image posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae start out green with a horn on the final segment. Middle instar larvae are whitish to blue-green with dark faint cross-stripes and the horn replaced by an orange raised knob on the last segment (A8). The last instars may be either brown with a “wood-grain” pattern or brown with ten pale green saddles along the back. In these late instars the knob resembles an eye.”