Ceratomia amyntor

Ceratomia amyntor
seer-a-TOHM-ee-uhM uh-MIN-tor
The Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx
(Geyer, [1835]) Agrius amyntor

Ceratomia amyntor mature larva, St. Urban Street, Plateau Mont-Royal,
Montreal, Quebec, September 11, 2013, courtesy of Mike Guetta.

Mike Guetta wrote an excellent description of the larva and asked a few pertinent questions:

Mike observes: "Katya Epstein and I wrote you some years ago when we found an Abbott's Sphinx on the Plateau in Montreal. Now I've found an awesome caterpillar which I suspect is a Sphinx of some kind. It didn't exactly match any of the ones in your list, though it was quite similar to some.

"I found it crawling on the sidewalk after a rain on St. Urbain St. in the Plateau Mont-Royal district of Montreal at about 11:15 pm tonight. It's about 3.25 inches long, almost half an inch thick and more of a pale green than the photographs show. It has the funny spiky tail thing that I see in many of the other Sphinxes, but also has four little horns at the front, two on the second segment behind the head and two on the third. There's a dorsal ridge of little pointy bumps running from behind the "horns" to the tail spike. Its six little front feet have darker tips.

"I'd love to know what to feed him (or her) and how to help him achieve mothhood. My six-year-old daughter will be enthralled.

"Thanks for your help!"

Before I could reply, Mike sent the following: "So I'm pretty sure the caterpillar I wrote you about earlier is a fifth instar Elm Sphinx caterpillar. I found it not far from an elm tree.

"Your page here (http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/camyntor.htm) says a dark bucket with paper towels will suffice for pupation, but I'm wondering how moist things should be and what temperatures are optimal. Also, do I just feed him elm leaves until he's ready to pupate? When is that likely to be and when will he emerge? Does the fact that he came down from the tree imply that he's ready now?

"You must get lots of letters like mine at this time of year. Thanks for your patience."

I respond, "Hi Mike,

"Yes, it is Ceratomia amyntor. Yes, it is ready to pupate. Probably a day or so before you found it, it was green and was feeding on foliage. Color change and departure from tree are indicative that the larva has matured and is ready to pupate.

"A dark bucket and paper towels will suffice. You could also use a much smaller container. For the Sphingidae I reared here this summer, I used sandwich sized Tupperware type containers with snap on lids. Specifically they were Gladware brand with clear plasic tub and translucent blue lids. I put a single folded (in half lengthwise, then in half width wise) sheet of paper towel in each tub, inserted five to six modesta or cerisyi larvae in each tub, snapped the lid shut with no moisture added and then in four to five days the larvae had pupated. They will give off moisture themselves inside the tub and the paper towel will likely become moist. Room temperature if fine for pupation.

"The adult moth will not emerge this summer/fall, but is geared to overwinter. I will shortly send you URL for a page where overwintering instructions are give.

For care of "found larvae/caterpillars" visit Manduca sexta larva, central Texas, August 21, 2008, Trina Woodall. The article includes overwintering instructions.

"Best of luck.

"I am going to add at least one of your images, credited to you, to my Quebec page. Hope that is okay??"

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