Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

  Sighting 1321626

Ello sphinx
Erinnyis ello

Observation date: March 28, 2022
Date notes: These photos are from March 24th-March 30th
Submitted by: ZoeAlexa
Specimen type: Photograph
Observation notes: Ello Sphinx (Erinnyis ello) caterpillars on Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli). I have 4 pencil cacti in my yard and noticed the other day that these caterpillars were covering all of them! I scooped a few up (30 to be exact), and put them in this plastic fish bowl to observe. I have been renewing their food source with fresh cactus tips everyday, and the more they grow the more they eat. I have noticed that as they shed each stage, they seem to glue their back food onto the plant so they can use the tension to get their last layer off. Also in this stage, I have noticed some of the more mature caterpillars have run into them and started trying to chomp of the younger caterpillars heads, as they are concentrated and not able to move out of the way with their foot glued down. They are always trying to taste to bite as they are moving, so when they run into one another they are nipping, and what may seem to look like fighting is merely just trying to eat their way along, or telling each other to "bug off". I have seen the size of their casings ( a year ago) and am thinking this bowl may be overcrowded, so will find some other containers to separate them as they get ready. As you can see they are in various stages. I have tried to put spinach, tomato skins and leaves, mushed celery, etc into the bowl, but they want nothing but the pencil cactus. Thats all I got for now!
Status: Resident
Verified by: curtis.lehman
Verified date: March 30, 2022
Coordinator notes: None.
Checklist region(s): United States, Florida, Palm Beach County