Kings County, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Smerinthus cerisyi by Jean Haxaire (Bill Oehlke pupa, Montague, P.E.I.)

This page is designed and maintained by Bill Oehlke of Montague, Kings County, Prince Edward Island, who has documented and reared all of the species on this page.

It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in your county, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be present.

Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an electronic image, via email to Bill Oehlke.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia undulosa WO, Waved Sphinx: Upperside of fw is pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and black-outlined white cell spot. Upperside of hw is gray with diffuse darker bands. Some individuals are almost black; others light yellowish brown. Note black and white collar separating thorax from abdomen.

Ceratomia undulosa, Montague, July, Bill Oehlke

Lapara bombycoides WO, the Northern Pine Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is gray with heavy black bands. The upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings. The underside is rather plain.

Lapara bombycoides, Montague, late June-early July, Bill Oehlke

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx: Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth is at rest. There is a wide pale grey band extending from the body along the costa about two-thirds of the way to the forewing apex. The terminal area is also light in colour. The rest of the forewing is dark, slate grey.

Sphinx drupiferarum, Montague, mid June to early July, Bill Oehlke

Sphinx kalmiae AB, the Laurel Sphinx

The lower forewings are predominantly brownish-yellow with a fairly wide dark bar along the inner margin. At rest the wings hug the body, giving the moth a long slender look.

Sphinx kalmiae, Montague, mid to late June, Bill Oehlke

Sphinx poecila WO, the Poecila Sphinx: FW fringes checkered black and white, almost pure white (lightly checked with grey) on HW. FW dark gray with diffuse black and gray wavy lines with series of black dashes ending at wing tip, and white cell spot which readily distinguishes poecila from canadensis. HW brownish gray with wide black border, black median line.

Sphinx poecila, Montague, mid to late June, Bill Oehlke

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx modesta WO the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx:

This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump. FW inner third is light grey-brown with darker brown median area.

Pachysphinx modesta, Montague, mid to late June, Bill Oehlke

Paonias excaecata WO, the Blinded Sphinx: FW outer margin is quite wavy. There is a dark cell spot and a dark oblique line mid wing from the costa almost to the inner margin. Basic ground colour is pinkish brown. The moth gets its name from the blue-gray pupil surrounded by black, with hot pink wing scales in the basal area of the hindwing.

Paonias excaecata, Montague, mid June to early July, Bill Oehlke

Paonias myops WO, the Small-eyed Sphinx:

This species is named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing.

The forewing is dark brown with yellow, black, grey and blue markings.

Paonias myops, Montague, mid June to early July, Bill Oehlke

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, the Cerisyi's Sphinx: This species is quite similar to Smerinthus jamaicensis, but the grey C-shape just below the apex reaches the outer margin in S. jamaicensis, whereas in S. cerisyi it is only a partial arc.

Smerinthus cerisyi, Montague, early June to early July, Bill Oehlke

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, the Twin-spotted Sphinx: S. jamaicensis closely resembles S. cerisyi, but jamaicensis is smaller with larger blue patches on more vibrant and deeper purple in lower wings. Note complete (i.e. outer margin to outer margin) off-white C-shape below forewing apex. S. cerisyi has only a partial arc.

Smerinthus cerisyi, Montague, mid June to late July, Bill Oehlke

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Hemaris thysbe WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing

It is not difficult to see why many gardeners would mistake an Hemaris thysbe moth for a small hummingbird as it hovers, sipping nectar from flowers through a long feeding tube.

Hemaris thysbe, Montague, mid June to early July, Bill Oehlke

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO, the Nessus Sphinix
The adult Nessus sphinx, which flies during the day and at dusk, has two bright yellow bands on the tufted abdomin. At rest, dark red-brown upperwings hide the red-orange median band and yellow spot of the hindwings; in some Amphion floridensis moths the median band may be very pale or almost absent.

Amphion floridensis, Montague, mid June to early July, Bill Oehlke

Darapsa choerilus WO, the Azalea Sphinx

They are common in New Jersey (my boyhood home) and common here on Prince Edward Island.

You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus, especially in older literature. It is almost cetrtainly present.

Darapsa choerilus, Montague, mid June to late July, Bill Oehlke

Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This forewing is dark brown with a slightly irregular cream-coloured transverse line. The outer margin is grey. There is a bright pink band on the hindwing. Caterpillars feed on fireweed.

Hyles gallii, Montague, early July, Bill Oehlke

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