You want to know how I know when my friends really know what makes me tick? They show up on my doorstep and say “Hey, we just saw an army of enormous caterpillars crossing a street together. It’s kinda gross…you wanna go see?” Why, YES I DO!!!
Enter…legions of White-Lined Sphinx Moth Larvae making their way to a new feeding and/or breeding ground across the street from their former dirt lot residence in a housing tract down by the lake. And check this out…these bad boys (literally hundreds of them) are the larvae form of the Hummingbird Moth that I wrote about in July (click here to view that post). And I didn’t know then that they are among the largest flying insects of the deserts, with adult wingspans sometimes exceeding 5 inches!
So…Sphinx Moth Larvae travel en masse to a cozy patch of desert and burrow underground before changing into adult moths within a few days, who then dig their way to the surface and become Hummingbird Moths (sometimes called Hawk Moths).
Most larvae (including my little friends below) have a prominent horn at the rear of their fleshy body and when alarmed, they rear up their heads in a threatening ‘sphinx-like’ posture (hence, their name) and may emit a thick, green substance from their mouths (it’s awesomely gross).
Check out the photos we took on our bug adventure and here’s a shout-out to that nice man who built them a few ‘dirt ramps’ so they could get up the curb more easily during their trek!