Erinnyis ello  Linnaeus 1758


Host plant: Carica papaya, Chamaesyce hyssopifolia
( Euphorbiaceae)
Caterpillar Description

 Other Images



Rearing results and development time

As of Oct. 2001 N=16: 13 eclosed, 1 died, 2 were parasitized.
Time as pupa: 12-16 days (N=4)

Host plants

 Euphorbiaceae: Manihot cassava, Carica papaya


 Braconidae: Cotesia sp. (probably congregatus or americana) N=2.



Observations and comments

Many sphingids curl the head down, baring the dorsal thoracic segments, when startled or threatened. In this species this same behavior displays the large (snake-like?) eyespot. Caterpillars only show their eyespot when they are bothered. Erinnyis alope is very similar to E. ello except that the caterpillars are brown with a false scale pattern on them. Both species can occur in a papaya plantation at the same time and on the same plants. Caterpillars feed during the day.

The braconid parasitoid of this species is gregarious and 100's (one estimate was 1500+ cocoons) emerge simultaneously from 5th instar caterpillars and pupate in a mass. They are hyperparasitzed by wasps in the Eulophidae and Chalcididae (Gentry/Dyer pers. obs.) which attack them as they weave their cocoons. The caterpillar does not move during emergence or pupation. After pupation is complete, the caterpillar pulls itself free of the mass of cocoons and crawls away to die elsewhere, leaving a hollow, tubelike, spongy mass of cocoons.

Voucher location

 Tulane University