|Found Under Our Parking Palapa|
|There's A Good 6- or 7-Inches|
We gently poked and prodded (as you do), which only served to piss him off a bit. When I rolled him over onto his back so we could see his light blue underbelly, he would flip back upright faster than you could follow with the naked eye. His speedy movement almost looked like a magic trick, it was so fast.
Feeling a need to move on with our project, we borrowed a shovel from the workers building our pool house addition, scooped him up and deposited him onto a pile of old thatch from the palapa that was just laying on the ground in the corner of the palapa.
I tried several times to look him up on the Intertubes, to no avail. I thought I had used a Website some months ago to identify some other critter that we found in our yard, but I was having trouble remembering what the site name was.
Eventually, it came to me. What's that bug? No, that's it. The site name - What's That Bug?
(http://www.whatsthatbug.com) It's a cool Website with a lot of information about bugs. They encourage you to ask about a bug, or in this case, a caterpillar, that you're interested in. They want to know some basic information about the bug, like where it's located, you can include photos, etc.
Here's what I submitted:
Subject: Unknown Caterpillar
Location: Corozal, Belize, Central America 18° 22'29.81"W 88° 23' 59.71"W
January 9, 2016 3:25 pm
The other day, we were working under our parking palapa, and upon moving a tarp, out popped this fellow. He's about 3/4" to 1" in diameter, and when extended, abut 6" to 7" long.
We've lived here for nine years and have never seen one like him, or even close. If you could identify him for us that would be super.
Thank you.Of course, I included the photos above.
Signature: David Rider
Here's the answer I got back about an hour later from Daniel Marlos, a real bugologist, or, entomologist:
Your submission is quite timely, because we just posted an image of an adult Fig Sphinx. Your Fig Sphinx Caterpillar represents one color variation for this variable species, and we are surmising there is a fig tree in the genus Ficus somewhere near your parking palapa.And, so now we know. Our caterpillar is a Fig Sphinx Caterpillar. And, yes, there is a fig ficus tree within about fifteen feet of the parking palapa. It's the topiary tree that our previous caretaker, Cody, used to try to trim into the shape of a peacock, or ostrich, or something.
The Website also told us that ours is the caterpillar of the Ficus Sphinx, a large moth. It appears to be pre-pupal, meaning it probably left its food plant to search for a place to undergo metamorphosis, usually among leaf litter. Which is exactly what it found with the old thatch under the palapa.
|Old Thatch Providentially Positioned|
|New Clothesline Being Hung|
Guess what we found? That's right. Several more big caterpillars, none as brightly colored as the original, but all of them happily munching away on the ficus tree.
|Bluish-Green Fig Sphinx Caterpillar in the Ficus Tree|
|Fig Sphinx Caterpillar Happily Munching in the Ficus Tree|
|Green Fig Sphinx Caterpillar in the Ficus Tree|
And since Daniel probably didn't get a dime from my book purchase, maybe someone will click on the link to buy a Kindle edition to help.
There's also a link at the top of the Web page where you can donate to help What's That Bug? keep providing timely information on all the critters we find crawling around us.