Pentas – Caterpillar Damage

Q: This thing destroyed a pot of pentas. Do you recognize this unneighborly guy?

A: It’s the caterpillar of a tersa sphinx moth. The moth itself is relatively large. When it flies, the wings don’t flutter like most moths, they flap to quickly propel the insect from flower to flower.

It is close kin to the tomato hornworm caterpillar. Both are well known to quickly consume plant leaves when the caterpillar has grown large.

Keep an eye on your pentas plants next summer and when the leaves begin to show damage, examine the plant closely for the small caterpillar. When found, remove and destroy it.

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Caterpillar damage to pentas

Tersa sphinx moth