“Since it was found on our treated deck and probably wants to burrow underground to pupate, I wouldn’t have wanted to hold it captive. I let it loose on vegetation after photographing it.”
Thank you for letting the caterpillar head to pupation!!
You found a really cool caterpillar! A Pandora sphinx caterpillar.
They come in several colors orange, green, and reddish and brownish. The last instar or molted stage of the larva loses its tale and has an eye spot in its place. Sphinx larva in general are called the hornworms since they have a tail. Once it has lost it’s tail, it starts looking for a place in the soil to pupate.
They do eat grape leaves, porcelain vine (Ampelopsis sp) as well as Virginia creeper.
When you see these large larva moving like that at this time of year, they are on their way to find a place to pupate. They overwinter as pupa.
The adult moth emerges in the spring. Like most sphinx moths it holds it’s wings such it is shaped like a fighter jet. The wings are olive green with darker green patches with a few pink streaks. A beautiful moth!
This insect is found in eastern North America. It has one generation in the north and 2 in the south.
This insect will not bite or sting.