Pandora Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

This photo was taken recently in Morris County, New Jersey.  I can’t identify many caterpillars “off the cuff”, and I was pretty sure this was one I had never seen before.  Whenever possible I put some effort into putting the proper common name to any insect, bird, or plant that I take pictures of.  The hardest IDs for me are moths and nondescript plants.  Often I will “throw in the towel”, and ask someone else for help in identifying the organism.  My Google Search for “brown caterpillar with green spots” eventually led me to a dead ringer for this one, a Pandora Sphinx Moth Caterpillar, luckily for me a distinctive larva.

Eumorpha pandorus photo

Micro Four-Thirds photograph of a large brown and green caterpillar feeding.

Photo taken with the Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Lens and the Olympus PEN E-PL2 Micro Four-Thirds Digital Camera mounted on my Manfrotto 055xProB tripod.  Settings: 150mm focal length, 1/20th shutter, aperture at F/8, ISO 400.  One Shot focus with continuous motor drive, Image Stabilization Mode 1 (in camera), RAW image format.  Less than 5% of the image was cropped off because of a very distracting leaf hitting the frame of the image.

I prefocused the lens on some nearby leaves, which allowed the lens to find the caterpillar faster than going through its entire focal range.  My subject was pretty stationary and I felt confident that I had a few moments to spare so I bent down a couple of leaves in the background to eliminate a little clutter.  I’d still prefer better separation from the background and foreground, but such is the way of nature photography, you take what you can get and make the best of it.

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