The Sphingidae of Saskatchewan:
Larvae

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

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

This page is dedicated to and inspired by Karen Edwards, Marnie Kay-Macmillan, Dave Fries and Doug Freestone, all of whom have sent me Sphingidae larval images from Saskatchewan.

Many thanks to Tim Taylor for his recent image of Hemaris diffinis.

Hemaris diffinis fifth instar, Regina, Saskatchewan,
July 26, 2011, courtesy of Tim Taylor.

Many thanks to Fiona Ramsay for her image of a Sphinx chersis larva.

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

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 catapiller. 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.

To aid with caterpillar identifications this larval thumbnail checklist has been created (January 7, 2011).

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

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor DF/BW, Elm Sphinx, Four-horned Sphinx: Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), cherry (Prunus). Both green and brown forms. Four horns near the head are diagnostic.

Ceratomia amyntor, Saskatoon, October 5, 2008, Doug Freestone.
Ceratomia amyntor, Saskatoon, September 6, 2011, Betty Wotherspoon.

Ceratomia undulosa WO, Waved Sphinx: Fraxinus, Ligustrum, Quercus, Crataegus, Chionanthus virginicus Fifth instar spiracular ovals decidedly red, anal horn is off-white to pinkish laterally.

Lapara bombycoides WO, Northern Pine Sphinx: Without anal horn; feeds on pines.The long stripes and reddish brown afford great camouflage.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Tomato Hornworms: black horn at the end of the abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, other plants in nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Sphinx chersis WO/FR, Northern Ash Sphinx, Great Ash Sphinx: Pale bluish-green. Head: pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at apex. Oblique, lateral stripes: pale, bordered anteriorly with darker green. Ash, lilac, privet, cherry, quaking aspen.

Sphinx chersis final instar, Lumsden Beach, August 11, 2011, Fiona Ramsay.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, Wild Cherry Sphinx: Hide by day; feed primarily on cherry, plum, apple at night; Amelanchier nantuckensis in Massachusetts; in Michigan on Prunus serotina from eggs readily oviposited.

Sphinx gordius, WO, Apple Sphinx: Ranges from brown with black borders through brownish gray with paler borders to pale gray with no borders. It is probably Sphinx poecila that is present in Saskatchewan.

Sphinx kalmiae WO, Laurel Sphinx: Black bands on green head. Black feet, black band above yellow-green legging on abdominal feet. Black oblique lines anterior to creamy white lines. Anal horn: blue with extensive black markings in final instar.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, Canadian Sphinx, Clemen's Sphinx: Willow (Salix), poplar (Populus), birch (Betula), apple (Malus), ash (Fraxinus), waxmyrtle (Morella), northern bayberry.

Sphinx poecila WO, Poecila Sphinx: If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the Poecila Sphinx. There are both a green form and a purple form.

Sphinx vashti WO, Snowberry Sphinx: Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and on coralberry (S. orbiculatus). Note the two golden lines of slightly raised bumps, one just behind the head, the other on the thorax.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO??, Walnut Sphinx: Walnut, butternut (Juglans), hickory (Carya), alder (Alnus), beech (Fagus), hazelnut (Corylus), hop-hornbeam (Ostrya). questionable

Pachysphinx modesta WO, Modest Sphinx, Poplar Sphinx: Larvae feed on poplars, cottonwood. Anal horn: very rudimentary in final instar.

Paonias excaecata WO, Blinded Sphinx: Willows, birches, cherries. I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada. generally more eastern species

Paonias myops WO, Small-eyed Sphinx: Wild cherry species are favorites, but eggs will also be deposited on birches and other forest trees. There are varying degrees in the amount of red markings along the sides.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, Cerisy's Sphinx; Larvae: pale green, with granular skin, pale lateral diagonal lines, faint red spiracular circles, very pale longitudinal lines running from head to more pronounced anal diagonal line. Green heads: bounded dorsally with pale yellow inverted "V".

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, Twin-spotted Sphinx: Birches, cherries, but are expecially fond of poplars and willows. Red markings on sides vary greatly from specimen to specimen.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini Tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris diffinis WO, Snowberry Clearwing: Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane (Apocynum), dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). Horn: black; yellow base.

Hemaris diffinis fifth instar, Regina, July 26, 2011, courtesy of Tim Taylor.

Hemaris gracilis WO, Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing: Blueberries including low bush blueberry (Vaccinium vacillans), and laurel (Kalmia), all in the heath family (Ericaceae).

Hemaris thysbe WO, Hummingbird Clearwing: Orangey-pink prepupal form. Lateral line runs from S1 to blue horn. Viburnum and related plants. generally more eastern species

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon KE/DW, Achemon Sphinx: Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), other vines, ivies (Ampelopsis). Light green form and a darker (tan/brown) form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines.

Eumorpha achemon, Estevan, Saskatchewan, September 10, 2010, Karen Edwards.
Eumorpha achemon, Regina, Saskatchewan, September 5, 2013, Darlean Weigetz.

Macroglossini Tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO, the Nessus Sphinix: In additon to Virginia creeper larvae accept Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and cayenne pepper (Capsicum).

Larvae are green until the final instar.

Darapsa choerilus WO, Azalea Sphinx: Azalea, Viburnum progress very rapidly. Larva (left) on Viburnum cassinoides is getting ready to pupate. Color change from green to light burgundy-brown indicates pupation is imminent.

Hyles euphorbiae MKM/DF, Spurge Hawk Moth: Young larvae: variously patterned with green, yellow, black; older larvae: distinctive red, black, yellow, white color pattern. May approach 10 cm; when disturbed, regurgitate slimy green liquid. Leafy spurge.

Hyles euphorbiae, Swift Current, July 31, 2007, Marnie Kay-Macmillan
Hyles euphorbiae, Zehner (12 miles NE of Regina), Dave Fries

Hyles gallii WO, Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx: Larvae come in black and in brown forms (see bottom of page) and often feed on Epilobium (fireweed).

Hyles lineata WO, White-lined Sphinx: Larvae: variable; Willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), Fuschia. All with red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Proserpinus flavofasciata WO, Yellow-banded Day Sphinx. Penultimate instar pale green with pair of pale, dorsolateral lines running from head to base of short caudal horn. Last instar: brown-black with numerous black dots; caudal horn replaced by black button surrounded by white ring edged with black.

Proserpinus juanita WO, Juanita Sphinx: Newly-hatched caterpillars eat eggshells. (Onagraceae) including evening primrose (Oenothera), gaura (Gaura), and willow weed (Epilobium). Michael Van Buskirk has found them on Guara biennis in Missouri.

Enjoy some of nature's wonderments, giant silk moth cocoons. These cocoons are for sale winter and fall. Beautiful Saturniidae moths will emerge the following spring and summer. Read Actias luna rearing article. Additional online help available.

Eggs of many North American species are offered during the spring and summer. Occasionally summer Actias luna and summer Antheraea polyphemus cocoons are available. Shipping to US destinations is done from with in the US.

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