Convict Caterpillars eating lilies and amaryllis.
In recent days there have been several sightings from Florida in the US of the Convict Moth caterpillar.
These are the boldly marked black and white striped caterpillars of the Spanish Moth (Xanthopastis regnatrix)
These Convict caterpillars have similar stripes to the Hornworm of the Costa Rica Sphinx featured in other news items.
The Convict Caterpillar appears to have an orange head at both ends which is presumed to confuse predators.
Elaine Blum recorded these Convict caterpillars feeding on her day lilies in Florida
Walter Jants also recorded Convict caterpillars in Florida, this time feeding on Amaryllis.
In southern states the caterpillars may be found year round. In July of last year Debra Harris recorded the Convict caterpillars featured below in her garden in Alabama.
Many thanks to Elaine, Walter and Debra for their sightings and hope the lilies and Amaryllis survive!
Around the world there are several species of caterpillar that feed on lilies and closely related plants.
The larvae of other insects, such as the Lily Beetle, can also cause severe damage to the lilies in many countries.
North American caterpillar galleries
Californian plague of caterpillars
Recommended reference books
The Hawk Moths of North America – James. P. Tuttle.
Caterpillars of Eastern North America – David. L Wagner.