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Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
copyright C. Odenkirk
The forewing upperside is often greenish brown (photo to right) with curved dark lines and pinkish-white patches.
The hindwing upperside is pale yellow to reddish brown with white along the costal margin, greenish brown along the outer margin, and white shaded with greenish brown on the inner margin.
Paul Opler photo.
This sphingid is less common than many of its relatives.
The underside is also very attractive as evidenced in this image I scanned for Doug Malone from Tennessee.
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Females lay translucent yellow-green eggs in twos or threes on the underside of host leaves. Eggs hatch in approximately seven days, and the young caterpillars eat their egg shells. The developing larvae usually become visible inside the shells after three to four days.
Larval growth is rapid, and caterpillars reach the fifth instar in only slightly over two weeks.
Larvae turn a deep chocolate brown just prior to pupation, and the "horn" on the tail also turns downward as pupation draws near.
Darapsa versicolor courtesy/copyright David Wagner.
At pupation time, I pick up such Sphingidae larvae with my fingers and gently put them in a bucket, bottom-lined with several layers of loose, dry paper towels. The larvae will crawl under the towelling and pupate on the bottom of the bucket.
This method, a warm dark bucket lined with paper towelling, is sufficient to induce pupation in most of the earth pupators or those that pupate under litter at or near the surface.
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