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Old 06-25-2010, 01:28 PM   #1
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Default Caterpillar ID request

I just found this caterpillar on the edge of my property. It was on some Catchweed. Not sure what it is. Any ideas?
I thought it looked like Spurge hawkmoth but it says its from western europe spain/portugal area.

Reading further on i see its been introduced to Canada to help control weeds. So i guess it could be down here in MN

This thing is huge at least 3 inches long
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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After glancing at bugguide.net I would agree with your ID on this one - beautiful caterpillar!

Seems this bugger was introduced into the US in 1965 as a biological agent against leafy spurge. It is native to Europe and looks to be spreading east into your area.

Last edited by TimSaupe; 06-25-2010 at 02:15 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:07 PM   #3
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should i leave it be or should i remove it from the natural world? I wouldnt mind if it ate all the invasive spurge in the area.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:44 PM   #4
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Quick check and the only thing close I can find is, Hyles dahlii, Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa. Here's some other possibilities but I think you nailed it, Hyles euphorbiae euphorbiae. We do have some Euphorbia that's native, PLANTS Profile for Euphorbia (spurge) | USDA PLANTS. It prefers non-native Euphorbia and there's plenty of that around so I'd leave it alone.
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Old 06-26-2010, 07:35 AM   #5
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That species of moth was introduced into the US deliberately in an attempt at controlling Leafy Spurge, Euphorbia esula, which is a horribly invasive European Euphorbia that is causing big problems in the US. If you're unlucky enough to have some Leafy Spurge growing near you, put the caterpillar on it.

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