Horrifying Explorations by Author Gordon Grice
What a cool character! I do not think I would want him in my garden, though! Does he have a cousin who munches on tomato plants? I had a similar-looking critter on tomato plants once.
He does indeed--the tomato horn worm and its close cousin the tobacco worm are both big green caterpillars that eat tomatoes and grow up to be sphinx moths. You can tell they are the culprits if you find their droppings, which are the size of pencil erasers and have a sort of wicker texture, below the plant. To get rid of them, all you have to do is venture forth with a flashlight at night, when they are active, and pick them off.(Karen--I answered this on Facebook as well, but wanted to post both places so everyone can see it.)
When I read Deadly Kingdom I kinda resented the fact that you compared caterpillars to maggots. I know its true that they are basically the same, but I actually think caterpillars are beautiful with all those bizarre shapes and amazing colors... my personal favorite may be the awesome Hemeroplanes triptolemus, even though I've never seen one in real life. :>
I think they're beautiful too. Maybe not as cool as maggots, but still. As for Hemeroplanes triptolemus, I envy its ability to make its hind end look like a snake's head.
And for those who think I've gone nuttier than usual, check out these images of Hermoplanes--pretty standard-looking sphinx moth as an adult, but as a caterpillar, it can blow its hind end up to look like a snake's head: http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/htriptol.htm
Now I'm confused... I always thought the snake's head was the anterior part of the body! Regardless of which end is the head/false head, this bug keeps amazing me every time :> The cyclops eyed Abbott's Sphynx larva is also pretty cool- and this time the eye is definitely on its butt XDhttp://www.thefeaturedcreature.com/2011/12/trickster-among-moths-abbotts-sphinx.html#axzz1tlDxoCAQ
You're right, it does say anterior. That ruins the whole thing for me; I'm giving up my envy. Henceforth my allegiance is to the Abbot sphinx.