IPM1019, New February 2003
Smalleyed sphinx caterpillars (Paonias myops) are present from May through September. They produce multiple generations per year.
The body surface texture of this 2.5-inch-long, pale to bright green caterpillar is very grainy (granulated). Oblique light-colored lines can be seen on the abdominal segments and dorsal patches of red are present both anteriorly and posteriorly. The spiracles are also red. Preferred host plants include various kinds of cherry.
Many caterpillar species in the Sphingidae family are referred to as "hornworms" because they have a conspicuous horn or spine on the top of the last abdominal segment. The bodies of these caterpillars are usually free of hairlike setae and smooth except for shallow wrinkles in each segment. Adults are referred to as "sphinx," "hawk," or "hummingbird" moths. They are fast, strong fliers with a rapid wing beat and often hover in front of a flower to feed on the nectar in much the same manner as a hummingbird (and superficially they look like a hummingbird too!). The name "sphinx" is probably in reference to the sphinx-like position that some of the caterpillars assume when disturbed. Some common vegetable, tobacco and other plant pests belong to this family of caterpillars.
IPM1019, new February 2003
Order publications online at http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/shop/ or call toll-free 800-292-0969.