Found in Lincoln NE. Fat, and about 3 in. long. My daughters and I like to watch them develop. It was found near a maple tree.
Your caterpillar is a white-lined sphinx moth larvae. The caterpillar colors can vary a lot…some have more black coloration, some have stripes, but the white dots you see on this one are on all variations.
These caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants including spurge, plants in the evening primrose family as well as the rose family. They are not a pest, just a colorful cool insect. So glad your girls enjoy watching them!
The moths are commonly seen at dusk feeding on nectar of petunias or other flowers with tubes. They resemble hummingbirds and are sometimes called hummingbird moths.
There are 2 generations per year. These are found all over North America.
Moni has an ebook “Garden Insect Pests of North America – Pictures for Identifying and Organic Controls” Check it out!