Hawk moths stay in groups

LARGE: This is thought to be a caterpillar of the striped hawk moth.

LARGE: This is thought to be a caterpillar of the striped hawk moth.

I am wondering what sort of caterpillar this is. I live in Invermay Park and there were two of these on the bricks of the house, they were about 6cm long.

L.C., Invermay Park.

Your large fleshy caterpillar is one of the hawk moths, probably the striped hawk moth. Caterpillars can range in colour from green to black. All colours have spots on their sides, joined by a pale line. There is a small black spike on the tail, but this is not visible in your photos.

They are usually found in groups, rather than alone, so it is not surprising that you found two of them. They feed on a variety of plants, including grapevines and pigweed.

Hawk moths caterpillars are large, and they grow into large moths. This one is mottled brown with a tinge of red on its hindwings. It hovers at flowers at night.

  • Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to rthomas@vic.australis.com.au