The Sphingidae of Saskatchewan

Hemaris thysbe photo courtesy of Praveen Mutalik.

This website is designed and maintained by Bill Oehlke. Please send sightings (date, location, species) and/or images to Bill.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor ##
Ceratomia undulosa**, ##
Lapara bombycoides ##
Manduca quinquemaculatus ##
Sphinx chersis fr, ##
Sphinx drupiferarum**, ## mmmmmm
Sphinx gordius ##
Sphinx kalmiae ##
Sphinx luscitiosa ##
Sphinx poecila ##
sphinx vashti**, ##

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis ??
Pachysphinx modesta**, ##
Paonias excaecatus**, ##
Paonias myops**, ##
Smerinthus cerisyi**, ##
Smerinthus jamaicensis**, ##
Smerinthus ophthalmica

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:mm

Erinnyis alope rare stray ##
Hemaris diffinis ##
Hemaris gracilis ##
Hemaris thysbe**, ##

Philampelini tribe:mm

Eumorpha achemon k.e.
Eumorpha labruscae r. s. ##

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis r.s. ##
Darapsa pholus ##
Hyles euphorbiae ##
Hyles gallii**, ##
Hyles lineata ##
Proserpinus flavofasciatus ##
Proserpinus juanita ##

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List adapted by Bill Oehlke from North Dakota and Montana lists. ?? means I have no confirmed reports; I just suspect the species (Amorpha juglandis, Eumorpha achemon) may be there. Eumorpha achemon has now been confirmed by Karen Edwards, based on larval image from Estevan in southern Saskatchewan, September 10, 2010.

Eumorpha achemon prepupal fifth instar, Estevan, Saskatchewan,
September 10, 2010, courtesy of Karen Edwards.

In September 2013 I was alerted by Daniel Marlos, moderator of What's That Bug? that Darlean Weigetz had submitted an Eumorpha achemon larval image from Regina, Saskatchewan. Apparently this species is becoming established in Saskatchewan.

Eumorpha achemon fifth instar (pale), Regina, Saskatchewan,
September 5, 2013, courtesy of Darlean Weigetz.

Eumorpha achemon prepupal (reddish) larva, Regina, Saskatchewan,
September 5, 2013, courtesy of Darlean Weigetz.

Darlene writes, "I think this is an Achemon Sphinx caterpillar. Its very large! I live in Regina, Saskatchewan. When I first found it, it was a very pale beige. Within an hour it turned dark beige, by morning it was reddish. It has a fake eye on its back end with white markings along its sides. If this is indeed what I think it is, is this common in Saskatchewan? Ive never seen one before." Many of the Sphingidae larvae will take on a darker colouration as they prepare to pupate. Often an amber, reddish, burgundy hue is an indication that the moth will not emerge until spring.

Starred items (**) have been confirmed by Cedric Gillott, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan.

Pounded items (##) are from Rev. Ron Hooper, courtesy of Gary Anweiler, Alberta Lepidopterists' Guild.

On August 2, 2016, Lisa T. sent me two images of Eumorpha achemon larvae encountered in her yard in Regina. I do not know if this species can successfully overwinter in Saskatchewan, or if migrant adults have simply deposited eggs during northerly excursions.

Eumorpha achemon prepupal, Regina, Saskatchewan,
August 2, 2016, courtesy of Lisa T.

Hyles euphorbiae, Swift Current, Saskatchewan,
courtesy of Marnie Kay-Macmillan, July 31, 2007

Marnie writes, "A friend found these caterpillars on a shrub in their yard they nearly defoliated the entire shrub. We live in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, which is in the south west corner of Saskatchewan. Can you tell from the picture what type of caterpillar it is?"

Hyles euphorbiae red form, on leafy spurge, Zehner (12 miles NE of Regina), Saskatchewan, courtesy of Dave Fries.

Hyles euphorbiae yellow form, on leafy spurge, Zehner (12 miles NE of Regina), Saskatchewan, courtesy of Dave Fries.

Ceratomia amyntor, fifth instar, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,
October 5, 2008, courtesy of Doug Freestone.

Doug Freestone of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan writes (October 5, 2008), "Attached is a photo I took this morning of a caterpillar that was climbing a 4x4 post on my front deck. I have not seen one of these before and would like some help to identify it.

"This caterpillar was about 6 cm long and about 1 cm diameter. It was cool and rainy (14C) this AM and he was not moving too quickly, but 30 minutes later he had disappeared.

"I am located 25 km SW of Saskatoon, SK.

"TIA for any help."

I replied, "It is Ceratomia amyntor, the Four-horned Sphinx also know as the Elm Sphinx. I would like permission to use image with credit to you on my Saskatchewan Sphingidae page."

"Permission granted with thanks, Bill. We live on an acreage SW of Saskatoon.

"Are these common in this location? Seems to me (a lay person) that it's a bit late in the year for these creatures to be wandering around. We have had just one very light frost to date, but the first "killing frost" of the season is overdue."

Yes, it is late in the season. It might just be a late caterpillar that probably would not make it through if you had had a hard earlier frost. Another possiblity is that the larva has been parasitized. The internal parasite larva secrete a hormone that keeps the caterpillar growing and feeding beyond its normal limit so the parasitic larvae have enough food to take them through their larval stage. It's a bug eat bug world out there.

The larvae depicted is mature and has probably crawled to the soil where it will excavate a subterranean chamber in which to pupate.

Sphinx chersis fifth instar, Lumsden Beach, Saskatchewan,
August 11, 2011, courtesy of Fiona Ramsay.

For care of "found larvae/caterpillars" visit Manduca sexta larva, central Texas, August 21, 2008, Trina Woodall.

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