This cat was found on a basil plant in my husband's permaculture garden, so he brought it home so I could raise it with my students. Several days ago, I was lucky enough to watch him finish molting (Pic #1) at about 8:30 in the morning. When I checked in on him around 3:30 pm that day, he had turned a dark color (Pic #2). I have seen both forms on our basil plants before, but I am still unsure of his ID. Because I have never seen them on our nightshade plants, I assume he is not a tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) although that's the closest I can find in terms of his appearance. He has grown quite a bit in the past few days and I have made him a place where he can burrow to pupate so we are hoping he does. But would love if I could ID him without having to wait for the adult to emerge. Will try to get a better photo of the dark form.
basil plant in a cultivated desert garden
Lat: 28.50, Long: 34.50
Spotted on Sep 5, 2017
Submitted on Sep 5, 2017