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Photo#72684
Brown, Tail Spike, Green Face Caterpillar?

Brown, Tail Spike, Green Face Caterpillar?
Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina, USA
August 24, 2006
Size: 2"-2.5"
This guy in brown with a long tail spike, four bumps behind the head, and a light green face. He appears to move rather clumsily, but is very active and doesn't roll up when jostled or touched.

Moved

Sphinx Moth?
I had an Elm Spinx caterpillar that was green but became this color after being in the heat for a long time (hot car was a bad idea) It was fine and went into a coccoon later. From shape this looks like some kind of sphinx moth caterpillar. MAYBE Elm, it has 4 projections behind the head.

 
I think Elm Sphinx is a good guess
- but if there's another sphinx with four horns like this, I'd like to know about it, because we just saw a similar one posted here the other day (below), and Elm Sphinx was all I could find to match. Guide page here. Color change is quite common just prior to pupation, by the way.


 
A Spinx by any other name
I believe there are several names for Elm Sphinx that are common, including Four-Horned Sphinx. I don't know if you have seen this site, http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/insects/cateast/index.htm. Its pretty good and alot cheaper than some of the caterpillar guides.

 
I have a hard copy of that guide, which I used for years
till I got the new Wagner(1), but even Wagner only has 700 spp., so there are bound to be some we can't find in those references. Sphinx moths are some of the better-known ones, though. If you follow the link to the guide page, you'll see we do have the alternate common name four-horned sphinx listed for elm sphinx, which I'm pretty sure this is - but when I get too confident of IDs is when I start to trip up so I always like to leave room for correction. :)

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