what is this caterpillar?

knsdye(7)July 29, 2012

Hi all, I'm here in pacific northwest near Seattle and I've not been able to identify this cat. I've visited this website to step thru the keys with no luck. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/insects/catnw/keyfam.htm

I'll add that this is the first year I've witnessed some kind of hummingbird moth visiting my honeysuckle.

The cat was on a hardy fuchsia

I've brought it into the house and taking care of it in a glass jar. So far it's doubled, maybe tripled in size and has "shed"? (is that the right term?) at least once. The horn on the end is now completely orange, not black-tipped like above when it was outside.

Otherwise, the colors haven't changed.

Any comments appreciated.

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Pretty sure it's a White-Lined Sphinx caterpillar. Very nice diurnal moth. Fuchsia is one of its reported larval host plants. I've attached a link for more info and photos regarding this moth.


Here is a link that might be useful: Hyles lineata aka White-Lined Sphinx

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Thank you! Some of those images in the link you provided are a right-on match, including the moth that I recall seeing on the honeysuckle.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Congrats Knsdye! Nice photo.
I believe those burrow down into the soil to pupate. The first time I tried to raise a sphinx moth I didn't know that so I thought I'd warn you. Mine was laying on the bottom of the container and I thought it was dying but it wasn't. It was just ready to pupate.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:20AM
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I provide a container with a few inches of soil for the larva to burrow in. :) What's cool is you can see so much of the moth while it is a pupa. Totally awesome!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 9:50PM
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I'm surprised just how large this cat is getting, 2 or 3 times bigger than from just a week ago. I've got a terrarium, so I'll pursue getting the soil for it now, rather than wait? I guess it will have been a week now come Sunday and I've just continued to give it fresh Fuchsia that I found it on and cleaning out the container.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 5:04PM
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over the weekend during the daily change for fresh fuschia and cleaning of the container, I noticed the paper napkin had been chewed in a neat circle shape, as if the cat were trying to dig or bury itself. I took that cue to instead move the cat into the soil terrarium and within the day, it seems to have buried itself already. I'll give it another couple days before I attempt to lift the lid for observing, as I'm hoping to keep it undisturbed for now. I've read several postings that talk about giving the future moth something to climb when it emerges, any other important tips appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 4:08PM
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