Created/dedicated, as per personal communication with Bridget Shinn; August 29, 2013, September 2, 2013
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America; September 2, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA; September 2, 2013
Updated as per personal communication with Shea Halbert (Eumorpha pandorus, Little Rock, August 26, 2014); August 27, 2014

Pulaski County, Arkansas

Manduca rustica, Pulaski County, Arkansas, August 29, 2013,
courtesy of Bridget Shinn

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Bridget Shinn who sends the image of Manduca rustica at the top of the page.

Thirty-six Sphingidae species are listed for Arkansas on the BAMONA website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Pulaski County (only four are reported on BAMONA as of September 2, 2013). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

Moths that I expect may be in Searcy County, although not officially recorded, are indicated by a "WO".

A "BAMONA" indicates the moth is reported on the USGS website and/or in Lepidoptera of North America, #1. Distribution of Silkmoths (Saturniidae) and Hawkmoths (Sphingidae) of Eastern North America, an excellent little booklet available through Paul Opler.

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.

Please also send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Many thanks to Shea Halbert who sends the following image.

Eumorpha pandorus, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas,
August 26, 2014, courtesy of Shea Halbert.

The night-blooming moon flower will attract many Sphingidae at dusk and into the night.

Visit Arkansas Catocala (Underwing Moths).

Visit Pulaski County Sphingidae Larvae: Caterpillars; Hornworms.

If you are travelling, you can find active Sphingidae checklists for all countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbbean via the links at North, Central, South American Sphingidae checklists

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, WO Pink-spotted Hawkmoth: Strong migrant; adults nectar from deep-throated flowers including moonflower (Calonyction aculeatum), morning glory (Convolvulus), honey suckle (Lonicera), petunia.

Ceratomia amyntor WO, Elm Sphinx; Four-horned Sphinx: Fw upperside: brown with dark brown and white markings including white costal area near wing base, dark streaks along veins, white spot in cell. Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia catalpae WO, Catalpa Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is yellowish brown with no white markings, but there are indistinct black lines and dashes. The cell spot is gray with a black outline. The larvae feed in large groups and are much more spectacular than the moths.
Catalpa is the larval host.

Ceratomia hageni WO, Hagen's Sphinx or Osage Orange Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is gray with a green tint and has dark indistinct wavy lines, and pale gray patches at the wing tip and along the costa.

Ceratomia undulosa WOMS, Waved Sphinx: Fw upperside: pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and black-outlined white cell spot. Hw upperside: gray with diffuse darker bands.

Dolba hyloeus WO, Pawpaw Sphinx: 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.

Manduca jasminearum WO Ash Sphinx: Fw upperside: gray to grayish brown with black line running from middle of costa to middle of outer margin; line may be broken near margin. Splash of brown around cell spot. Hw upperside: mostly black, with gray at lower margin.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth: I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter Manduca quinquemaculatus.

Manduca rustica BS, Rustic Sphinx: Look for three large yellow spots on each side of the abdomen. Fw upperside: yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown with heavy dusting of white scales, zigzagged black and white lines.

Manduca rustica, August 29, 2013, Bridget Shinn.

Manduca sexta WO, Carolina Sphinx: If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered Manduca sexta in the larval stage. Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

Paratrea plebeja WO, Plebeian Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is gray with indistinct black and white markings. There is a series of black dashes from the base to the tip, and a small white cell spot.

Sphinx chersis WO, Northern Ash Sphinx, Great Ash Sphinx: Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, Wild Cherry Sphinx: Forewing: dull slate grey with considerable light grey scaling in broad band along costa about 3/4 of distance from body toward apex. Median lines: black, thin. Wavy, diffuse dark subterminal line, inwardly bordered by white, and whitish bar in terminal area, paralleling outer margin.

Sphinx kalmiae WO, 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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, Walnut Sphinx: Highly variable; wings may be all one color or may have several colors, ranging from pale to dark brown, may have white or pink tinge. Patterns range from faint to pronounced. Female is different.

Paonias astylus WO, Huckleberry Sphinx: Generally, Paonias astylus, (wingspan 55-65 mm), ranges from Maine south to Florida, west to Missouri and Mississippi.

Paonias excaecata WO, Blinded Sphinx: Named for dull grey-blue spot (minus dark pupil) in hindwing, Wide distribution in the eastern United States. I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Paonias myops BAMONA, Small-eyed Sphinx: Named for the small eye-spot in hindwing; wide distribution, probably found in many Arkansas counties. I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, Twin-spotted Sphinx: Widely distributed and fairly common. Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Aellopos fadus WO, Titan Sphinx: Body: dark brown with wide white stripe across abdomen. Wings: dark brown. Split in outer white band of forewing unlikely stray

Aellopos titan WO, Titan Sphinx: Body: dark brown with wide white stripe across abdomen. Wings: dark brown. Very similar to above species, but the upperside of the hindwing has pale patches along the costa and inner margin. unlikely stray

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next two species.

Hemaris thysbe WO, Hummingbird Clearwing: Easy to see why many gardeners would mistake for small hummingbird as it hovers, sipping nectar from flowers through long feeding tube.

Hemaris diffinis WO, Snowberry Clearwing: Adults mimic bumblebees; quite variable. Wings: basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases, edges. Thorax: golden-brown to dark greenish-brown. Abdomen: dark (black) with 1-2 yellow segments.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, Achemon Sphinx: Larvae get large and feed on grape vines and Virginia creeper. Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

Eumorpha fasciatus WO, Banded Sphinx: Dark pinkish brown with lighter brown band along costa, sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. Primrose-willow, Ludwigia (water primrose), other plants in evening primrose family.

Eumorpha pandorus WO/SH, Pandorus Sphinx: If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have this species. I often get asked to identify larvae from areas not previously reported.

Eumorpha pandorus, Little Rock, August 26, 2014, Shea Halbert.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis BAMONA, Nessus Sphinix: This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you probably have the Nessus Sphinx. Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on the abdomen.

Darapsa choerilus MS, Azalea Sphinx: The lower wings of this hawkmoth are a solid brownish-orange, matching the body colour. You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus, especially in older literature.

Darapsa myron BAMONA, Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Grapevine Sphinx: If you have foodplants indicated in common names, you probably have this myron. Hws: orange.

Darapsa versicolor WO, Hydrangea Sphinx: If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you might have Hydrangea Sphinx. rare

Deidamia inscriptum WO, Lettered Sphinx: Fw outer margin: deeply scalloped. Light brown with dark brown markings. There is small black and white spot near tip. Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus).

Hyles lineata WO, the White-lined Sphinx: This species has strong migrating tendancies from much further south.

Proserpinus guarae WO, Proud Sphinx: Abdomen may have pale band. Wings: brown. Fw sometimes has greenish tint, may have median area darker. Lines bordering median area curved. Hw: reddish brown border. possibility

Proserpinus juanita WO, Juanita Sphinx: Fw upperside: pale gray-green with deep green-brown median area and white dash at wing tip. rare

Sphecodina abbottii MS, Abbott's Sphinx: Very much under reported across the United States. It is a rapid day flier so is probably not in too many collections. Grape is a popular larval host.

Xylophanes tersa WO, the Tersa Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is pale brown with lavender-gray at the base and has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout.

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