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Cliff Sadof, Extension Entomologist
Catalpa sphinx (aka catalpa worms) have two generations each year (south of Indianapolis) and one generation a year (north of Indianapolis). They can completely strip catalpa trees and grow to three inches! This photo shows late stage caterpillars. The dorsum is velvet black upon molting. As they feed and expand, they lighten in color. Infestations rarely last more than two years in a row thanks to a parasitoid that attacks caterpillars. Parasitized individuals will be covered with white coccoons. Just think of these insects as the tomato hornworms of the catalpa trees and you will have the idea. Renown as great fish bait--bait shops may even buy them at a premium....
Plant and Pest Digital Library and Digitally Assisted Diagnosis, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.