Another Big Headed Caterpillar

Another big headed caterpillar! One of our readers, Steve McConnehead shared the following picture of a big-headed green caterpillar with me this week. It was taken by a friend of his in Georgia (U.S.).

GreenCaterpillarI first thought it looked like a relative of the Big Headed Caterpillar of Phyllodes imperialis that I’ve blogged about previously because I didn’t think that was a real animal.

So I checked with Lyle Buss who is the Insect ID Lab Manager at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Here’s what he said about this green caterpillar:

“Your caterpillar is a tersa sphinx, Xylophanes tersa.  It is in the moth family Sphingidae, which includes sphinx moths and hornworms, such as the ones that commonly feed on tomatoes.  Larval food plants of the tersa sphinx include smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), starclusters (Pentas species), Borreria, catalpa, andManettia species. The larvae have green and brown color morphs.  They are a neat insect to have around, but because of their large size they do eat a lot of foliage.  These websites have more info and pictures of the various life stages:

Thank you Lyle, this solves another mystery for us. We’re so busy looking for larger, more exotic cryptids, that sometimes the strangest little things are right under our noses!

Folks, if you missed the first article about the red Big Headed Caterpillar, here’s that link:

Til the next time!

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