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Old 05-30-2015, 12:03 PM   #1
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Default Large Caterpillar on Threadleaf Bluestar Identification?

Threadleaf Bluestar isn't native here I believe, but has this large caterpillar. Doesn't have a "tail" but looks like sphinx/hummingbird moth. The patterns can change on each instar, so not really sure what it is. Has one large eye on each side, which seems unique.

Large Caterpillar on Threadleaf Bluestar Identification?-caterpillar-threadless-bluestar.jpg

Large Caterpillar on Threadleaf Bluestar Identification?-caterpillar-threadless-bluestar2.jpg

Any ideas on what it is?
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Old 05-30-2015, 12:35 PM   #2
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Could it be a tiger swallowtail cat?
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:11 PM   #3
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Have a look at the late instar of the Ello Sphinx moth (Erinnyis ello) to see if that might be it.

The caterpillar has several different looks as it goes through it's instars, but the last instar looks close. In David L. Wagner's book he does make the comment that "In the last instar, the horn is reduced to a nub."

The ello sphinx has a southern range but one source did note that they occasionally stray to the north. Another possibility is that it was brought up on a plant from one of the southern wholesale nurseries.
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Old 06-02-2015, 07:44 PM   #4
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Doesn't seem like a Tiger Swallowtail or Ello Sphix Moth. The body is speckled, which also seems unique. It seems whatever it is, it isn't well documented in eating Bluestars. Might need to put it up on bugguide
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:40 AM   #5
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I'm going with copper underwing -Amphipyra pyramidoides

Moth Photographers Group – Amphipyra pyramidoides – 9638
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:07 AM   #6
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I could find no example of a copper underwing cat with the black marks on the side like yours. Looked at other cats in the same genus and found nothing there either. My guess would be an injury or a parasitoid. If you know where it is, you should finish raising it and see if you get a moth or parasitoid(s).
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:28 AM   #7
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I have not seen it, or any evidence of it since almost immediately after I took the picture. Not sure what happened.

The Copper Underwing looks very close to it, though not 100% sure. Might be just a lack of pictures to compare with.
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