Dolba hyloeus
DOLL-bamm hye-LEE-us
Pawpaw Sphinx
(Drury, 1773) Sphinx

Dolba hyloeus courtesy of Paul Opler.

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Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Sphinginae, Latreille, [1802]
Tribe: Sphingini, Latreille, 1802
Genus: Dolba Walker, 1856 ...........
Species: hyloeus (Drury, 1773)


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The Pawpaw Sphinx or Blackalder Sphinx, Dolba hyloeus (Wing span: 2 - 2 11/16 inches (5 - 6.8 cm)], flies from Maine south to Florida, west to Wisconsin, eastern Oklahoma, and south to Texas. New York is the specimen type locality. The moth also flies in southern Ontario.

Dolba hyloeus Patrick Coin, used with permission,
Durham County, North Carolina, June 9, 2004

The upperside of the forewing is dark brown with a dusting of white scales. Some moths have patches of reddish or yellowish brown on the wings.

Visit Dolba hyloeus Austin, Texas, May 13, 2008, courtesy of Rick Gentry.

Visit Dolba hyloeus nectaring at bouncing bet, Flatbrookville, Sussex County, New Jersey, July 2008, courtesy of Jeff Swick.

Dolba hyloeus July 2007, Sussex County, New Jersey, courtesy of Joe Garris.

Dolba hyloeus July 2007, Sussex County, New Jersey, courtesy of Joe Garris.


Dolba hyloeus adults fly as a single brood from June-September in northern portions of its range and as two flights from March-September in Florida and Louisiana.


Pupae probably wiggle to surface from subterranean chambers just prior to eclosion.

Dolba hyloeus by John Vriesi


Females call in the males with a pheromone released from a gland at the tip of the abdomen. Adults nectar from deep-throated flowers including bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis), Petunia, jasmine, and mimosa.


Larvae feed on pawpaw (Asimina triloba), littleleaf sweetfern (Myrica aspleniifolia), possum haw (Ilex decidua), and inkberry (Ilex glabra) as well as Tall Gallberry Holly (Ilex coriacea). Louis Handfield reports larvae probably feed on Ilex verticellata in Quebec.

Dolba hyloeus larva courtesy of David Wagner.

Dolba hyloeus Patrick Coin, used with permission,
Weymouth Woods, Moore County, North Carolina, June 5, 2004,
Feeding on Tall Gallberry Holly--Ilex coriacea.

Dolba hyloeus, Louisiana, courtesy/copyright Vernon Brou.

Visit Dolba hyloeus, green and brown forms, Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, courtesy of Tom Murray.

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