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unknown caterpillar

unknown caterpillar
vail, pima County, Arizona, USA
June 23, 2010
Size: 4.5 inches
Found on the road. Roughly 3/4 inch thick. Thanks in advance.

Moved from ID Request.

a sphinx which however..i will have to research. looks like its about to dig in and that means the color has changed egad!
but this is probably manduca rustica rustica, or manduca florestan and maybe ryan or bill will come along and correct me, but i feel in my gut its florestan since its so rought

I'm stuck between M. florestan and M. rustica too. This looks more like florestan overall, but rustica would probably be more commonly found in this area. The major factor for me is the lack of stripes on the head, a character of rustica, florestan does have stripes while this particular larva doesn't. The fact that this is prepupal also makes identification difficult. I would go with rustica but then again I cannot be 100% either way.

Sphingidae larva
Ryan and Edna,
I agree with assessment that it is a Manduca species, and it could be either Manduca rustica (my first choice) or Manduca florestan (second choice).
I prefer Manduca rustica primarily due to droop in anal horn which seems present in all final instar rustica that I have seen, while anal horn of florestan seems more linear.
The very large size mentioned by photographer is also suggestive of rustica more so than florestan.
The prepupal colouration mentioned by Ryan may be masking the usually dominant purple oblique lines seen on rustica, but in some specimens the purple lines are greatly reduced.
Both Manduca rustica and Manduca florestan are seen fairly regularly in Pima County, Arizona.
Manduca florestan is usually associated with host plant silk tassel bush, Garrya wrightii, so photographer might be able to help further by indicating whether or not that larval host is found in vicinity of larva. If there is none of that host near the larva find, I would pretty much rule out florestan. Manduca rustica accepts a wider range of host plants.
Bill Oehlke

i didnt pay attention to size and thats my bad. this is a beautiful picture tho whichever it may be.

Thanks for all the very interesting info!
I found it on asphalt road near some penstemmons. But around the vicinity common plants are acacia, mesquite, sage and texas rangers.

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