The effects of temperature and dietary protein concentration on growth and survival of Manduca sexta L. (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) caterpillars during different larval stages were examined. Sets of caterpillars were raised from hatching at one of five constant temperatures (18, 22, 26, 30 or 34°C) and on one of two artificial diets (low or high protein concentration). Mass gain, duration (development time) and mean growth rate were measured for each caterpillar for the 1st to 3rd stadia, the 4th stadium, and the 5th stadium. Temperature significantly affected mass gain during each larval stage, resulting in smaller mass gains at higher temperatures at each stage. This effect was strongest at high temperatures during the 5th stadium. Temperature significantly affected durations of each larval stage, but the effect varied among stages: for example, the duration of stadia 1–3 decreased continuously with increasing temperature, whereas the duration of the 5th stadium was shortest at 26–30°C and increased at lower and higher temperatures. The effect of temperature on mean growth rate changed dramatically across larval stages: maximal growth rate occurred at 34°C during the 1st to 3rd stadia, at 30°C during the 4th stadium and at 26°C during the 5th stadium. Higher dietary protein concentration significantly decreased the duration of stadia 1–3 and of the 4th stadium, but had no significant effect on the duration of the 5th stadium. Temperature and dietary protein had little effect on mortality rates during any larval stadium, with one exception: mortality during the 5th stadium increased dramatically at temperatures of 30 and 34°C. These results demonstrate that the effects of temperature and dietary protein concentration on growth, development and survival in M. sexta vary markedly in different larval stadia during development; 5th instar caterpillars are particularly sensitive to higher temperatures.