Pandorus Sphinx Caterpiller

Pandorus Sphinx Caterpiller

It grows all over the farm, up the fences and along the ground,  but I didn’t know what it was called until Margaret told me.  We were walking on a  shaded path at her house yesterday when she pointed to it and said it was Virginia Creeper.

I was happy to know the name of another plant that grows around the farm and it came up again after I saw the caterpillar.

About three and a half inches long, bright green and very plump, almost juicy. It was impossible to miss.

I saw it as I pulled an egg out of the roosting box in the chicken coop. I wasn’t sure which side was its face and which it’s rear.  Its white spots were so well defined, but I didn’t see the subtle details till I enlarged the photo I took of it.

They reminded me of the growth rings on one of the mushrooms I took a picture of the other day.

Back in the house I googled, big bright green caterpillar and found Pandorus Sphinx.

My Pandorus Sphinx actually has a red “horn” that grows from the top of her head.  But I apparently frightened her, which is why she pulled it in and her face looks flat.  She hatched from an egg that her mother laid on the Virginia Creeper that was growing up the fence.  The leaves of that plant are gone, just bare stem sticking up now.

Pandours Sphinx ate them all which is why she is so big and green. But she’ll change many times before her final transformation into a moth. As she molts she’ll turn a darker shade of brown and lose her horn.

The photos I’ve seen of the Pandorus Sphinx moth look like their wings are made of green and brown suede. Their wingspan can be up to four inches wide. (You can see the moth here)

I’m going to keep an eye on the Virginia Creeper growing behind the barn.  I’d love to be able to see the caterpillar’s transformation and I’ll be sure to share it with you if I see her again.


7 thoughts on “Pandorus Sphinx Caterpiller

  1. It looks huge! We have had a lot of Tussock caterpillars.. They strip the leaves off the milkweed and mullein till they are just stalks. Fortunately I have quite a lot of milkweed for the monarchs. We have had 4 successful chrysalises and one that didn’t make it. I felt so sad about that:(. It is all so amazing!

    1. Oh Carolyn, Congrats on you butterflies! I know you were tending your milkweed. I haven’t seen any monarch caterpillars or chrysalises. We’re lucky not to have the Tussock Caterpillers. Now I have to look them up!

  2. You should get glorious red foliage in the fall. I inherited some Virginia creeper from the previous homeowners; my landscapers chopped it all down and replaced it with honeysuckle but the Virginia creeper won out, and I’m glad it did.

  3. Looks like a quilted caterpillar with the designs on its sides! Then the amazing moth also looks like it has a quilted design in various shades of colors . . . beautiful bold creatures 🙂

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