Tersa Sphinx Hummingbird MothsRETURN TO HUMMINGBIRD MOTHS
May 1 - After allowing much damage to my flowers, I collected 18 of these caterpillars from my pentas (flowering plant) and put them in a tank with one White-lined Sphinx Moth caterpillar. The caterpillars went through several instar (between molts) distinct looks. I have no idea how many instar stages are possible. Here are four examples.
Two of these caterpillars are stretched out and two have pulled their heads in enlarging the "eye spots" to "stare down" a likely predator. These stages are in order of appearance. All of the caterpillars I collected turned from green to brown before burrowing but not all of them reached the fourth stage pictured here. Most disappeared during the third pictured instar.
Most of the caterpillars buried themselves in the dirt in the tank to pupate. One hid under the damp paper towel clump. One stayed exposed on the surface. Most of the caterpillars did not bury themselves deeply. They partially buried themselves and used leaf litter to cover up. Two have yet to change as of May 26, 2002. Here are three views of one pupa.
May 21 - It has been about two weeks and the first moth has emerged during the day. I let it crawl out of the tank onto one of the penta plants. As of 11:00pm CST it has not flown. It was still present at 1:30am but was gone by morning.
NOTICE: My original website was named texasbirdwatcher.com. That is why you see photographs with that copyright identification.
We don't really think that the tersa moths mimic hummingbirds as much as some of the other moths but visitors come to this page searching for exactly that and so we maintain the information for that interesting creatures.Concerned that these caterpillars are destroying your garden? Remove them and rear them away from your garden as I did. (See bottom of main Hummingbird Moths page.)
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