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Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Hornworms (Family Sphingidae)


Hornworms, the larvae of sphinx or hawk moths, are among the largest and most familiar caterpillars. Almost all have a dorsal horn on the eighth abdominal segment, and hence their common name. Each segment is annulated with 6 to 8 shallow creases. Body setae are absent or inconspicuous except in the vicinity of the prolegs. The anal prolegs are flattened and form a triangle below the anal plate. Crochets of 2 lengths are arranged in a series parallel to the body axis. The large frass of hornworms often reveals their presence in a tree or garden. They are commonly encountered as they wander over the ground in search of pupation sites. Upon handling, they may thrash violently from side to side as well as regurgitate over their would-be captors. Food plant associations can be helpful in identification.


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Great Ash Sphinx

(Sphinx chersis)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Northern Apple Sphinx

(Sphinx poecila)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Laurel Sphinx
(Sphinx kalmiae)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Wild Cherry Sphinx
(Sphinx drupiferarum)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Pawpaw Sphinx
(Dolba hyloeus)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Catalpa Sphinx
(Ceratomia catalpae)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Waved Sphinx
(Ceratomia undulosa)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Northern Pine Sphinx
(Lapara bombycoides)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Twin-spotted Sphinx
(Smerinthus jamaicensis)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Blinded Sphinx
(Paonias excaecatus)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Small-eyed Sphinx
(Paonias myops)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Four-horned Sphinx
(Ceratomia amyntor)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Walnut Sphinx
(Cressonia juglandis)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Big Poplar Sphinx
(Pachysphinx modesta)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Hummingbird Sphinx
(Hemaris thysbe)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Hog Sphinx
(Darapsa myron)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Azalea Sphinx
(Darapsa pholus)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Nessus Sphinx
(Amphion floridensis)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Pandora Sphinx
(Eumorpha pandorus)
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Abbot's Sphinx
(Sphecodina abbottii)


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