Common Caterpillars of SE Arizona
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In response to many inquires to the Butterflies of SE Arizona and the Moths of SE Arizona websites, here are a few of the most common caterpillars found in Urban areas of SE Arizona.
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Hawkmoths = Sphinx Moths (
Smooth larvae with an anal horn are generally hawkmoths. Four species are commonly found in urban areas.
The Rustic sphinx (Manduca rustica )
- The purple stripes on the side are characteristic.
- Feeds of a vareity of trees and shurbs.
- Larvae in the genus Manduca have a rough horn
Great ash sphinx (Sphinx chersis )
- Feeds mainly on Ash
- Note that the horn is smooth.
The tomato and tobacco hornworns --
Carolina sphinx (Manduca sexta) and Five-spotted hawkmoth (Manduca quinquemaculata)
The caterpillars for these two species can be hard to tell apart, but the larvae cam be quite common on a wide variety of shurbs
White-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata )
- The larvae shows great variation in color
- The larvae will eat just about anything not moving. They are often so common in the low deserts as to force road closures --- the roads get to slick from all those larvae (this really happens every couple of years!)
Hubbard's small silkmoth (Sphingicampa hubbardi)
- The silver color on the plates is highly characteristic.
- A very striking, although not uncommon, caterpillar
- Feeds on Mesquite,
foothills paloverde (Cercidium micrphyllum
Juno buckmoth (Hemileuca juno)
- A common spring caterpillar on Mesquite
- The adults fly during the day (late fall)
Swallowtail Butterflies = (
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
- larvae are common on citrus.
Brush-footed butterflies = (Nymphalidae
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae incarnata)
- larvae a pest on passion Vine.