Black and white striped caterpillar

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Black and white striped caterpillar

Black and white striped Caribbean caterpillar  Pseudosphinx tetri  © 2015 Jan Seuring

Ask a child to draw a caterpillar and they may well come up with one that looks like this.

But these caterpillars with bold black and creamy white stripes, long whispy black tail horn, orange feet and red head really do exist.

They are the boldly marked caterpillars of the Costa Rica Sphinx moth caterpillars, Pseudosphinx tetrio.

One the most distinctive Hawkmoth caterpillars in the world.

The Convict Caterpillar is another black and white striped caterpillar that could be confused with a small Costa Rica Sphinx Hornworm.

See more information and photos of these extraordinary caterpillars and the toxins they contain to prevent predation.

Costa Rica Sphinx moth caterpillars Tetrio sphinx St Lucia © 2015 Kirsty Heath

Recently several identification enquiries have been received for these caterpillars from the the Caribbean.

Jan Seuring emailed the close up photo shown above of a Costa Rica Sphinx moth caterpillar crossing a rock on the Caribbean coast of Colombia – possibly having left the foodplant to wander in search of somewhere to pupate in the soil.

And on St Lucia Kirsty Heath emailed the photo shown left of several Costa Rica Sphinx caterpillars feeding on the leaves of a tree in a hotel garden – possibly a frangipani tree.

The caterpillars are so frequently recorded feeding on frangipani that in some countries they are better known as Frangipani Hornworm.

Many thanks go to Kirsty and Jan for sharing their great photos and others for emailing in their sightings

Other Hawkmoth caterpillars can be seen in the North American Moth caterpillar gallery

British Hawkmoth caterpillar

In the last two weeks caterpillar identification enquiries have been received from South Africa, Australia, India, Uk, St Helena, Columbia, Canada and the USA states of Tennessee and Florida – updates will appear here shortly.