Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Leo Bacon (Prescott, Arizona, Eumorpha typhon; September 2, 2017); September 3, 2017
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 3, 2017
Updated as per BAMONA; September 3, 2017

Yavapai County, Arizona and
Mohave, La Paz and Gila counties

Sphingidae Larvae

Eumorpha typhon fifth instar, Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona,
September 2, 2017, courtesy of Leo Bacon.

Eumorpha typhon fifth instar, Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona,
September 2, 2017, courtesy of Leo Bacon.

Eumorpha typhon fifth instar, Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona,
September 2, 2017, courtesy of Leo Bacon.

My first impression of the larva above, before I was aware of its location, was Eumorpha achemon, and that is still a possibility. However, Eumorpha typhon is also known from Arizona, and it tends to have the dark black speckling and dark abdominal banding, absent in achemon, between abdominal segments. The white to creamy coloured, oblique, abdominal stripes/bands seem to be more distinctly traced with a fine grey outline and are more irregular in achemon, while those same bands in typhon lack the tracing, especially below the spiracles and seem to be a bit more regular and thicker.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke.
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information/sightings are welcomed by Bill.

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

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Leo Bacon. Leo sent me the image of the Eumorpha typhon larva at the top of the page. Leo writes, "This beauty was in Prescott, AZ 86303. 5600 ft altitude. The setting is in a heavily forested/Tree's with some desert shrubs scattered around."

Fifty-nine Sphingidae species are listed for Arizona on the BAMONA website as of September 20, 2016). Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Yavapai County (Twenty-five are reported on BAMONA. as of September 3, 2017). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the caterpillars you are likely to encounter.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be present, although unreported. A "BAMONA" indicates the species is confirmed on BAMONA site. Please also send yor sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

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.

Although as of 2017 this page only covers/reports submissions for Yavapai County, I suspect it is also valid for nearby counties: Mohave, La Paz and Gila.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, BAMONA Pink-spotted Hawkmoth: Convolvulaceae family: Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato); Solanaceae family: (Datura) (jimsonweed); related plants. Also brown form. Very large, dark spiracular circles. adult stray; unlikely as larva

Lintneria separatus BAMONA, Separated Sphinx. Salvia greggii has been confirmed as a larval host by Robert A. Behrstock. Jim Tuttle, tentative id, writes, "All of the penultimate instars of both Lintneria (Sphinx) istar and Lintneria (Sphinx) separatus that I have reared have been mundane green."

Manduca florestan BAMONA,

Prominent, extended side slashes determine this species. Yellow side slashes often occur on larvae feeding on foliage with yellowish underside veins. In the penultimate instar, the anterior three slashes are accentuated. (stray)

Manduca muscosa BAMONA, Muscosa sphinx. Larvae feed on Verbesina gigantea, Lasianthaea fruticosa, Eupatorium albicaule, Viguiera dentata, Eupatorium albicaule of the Asteraceae family, Lantana camara of the Verbenaceae family, and probably on plants from the families Solanaceae, Bignoniaceae. Helianthus annuus and Jacaranda caroba have also been reported as larval hosts.

Manduca quinquemaculatus BAMONA, Five-spotted Hawkmoth. Tomato Hornworms: each has a black horn at the end of abdomen. Potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Most larvae are green, but there is also a very beautiful brown form to the left.

Manduca rustica BAMONA, Rustic Sphinx. The caterpillar has numerous white nodules on top of thorax and seven pairs of oblique, blue-gray stripes along body side. Horn is white at base; blue-gray at tip. Many hosts.

Manduca sexta BAMONA, Carolina Sphinx. Tobacco Hornworms, equipped with a red-tipped horn at the end of the abdomen, are true gluttons and feed on tobacco and tomato, and occasionally potato and pepper crops and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Sagenosoma elsa BAMONA, Elsa Sphinx. Larval hosts are unknown, but larvae probably feed on Lycium in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).Note the strong oblique black lines and the black anal horn.

Sphinx asellus BAMONA, Asella sphinx. Larval hosts are Manzanita and Arctostaphylos of the Ericaceae family. Look for a blue horn and strong purple colouration.

Sphinx chersis BAMONA, Great Ash Sphinx. Larvae: pale bluish green. Head with pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at the apex. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx dollii BAMONA, Doll's sphinx: Alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana), other juniper species. It is amazing to me how well the larval spiracular patches and false feet match the pattern and colour of the juniper bark.

Sphinx libocedrus BAMONA, Incense Cedar Sphinx. New Mexican forestiera (Forestiera neomexicana), Forestiera angustifolia, little leaf ash (Fraxinus gooddingii) in Oleaceae family. Green and dark forms; larvae tend to darken just before pupation.

Sphinx vashti WO?; probably north of Yavapai, 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:

Pachysphinx occidentalis BAMONA, Big Poplar Sphinx. Larvae feed on cottonwood and poplar (Populus) and willow (Salix).

Larvae are very chunky with little to distinguish them from Pachysphinx modesta.

Paonias excaecata WO?, usually more northeasterly Blinded Sphinx. Larvae accept willows, birches, and cherries. I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada.

Skin is quite granulous.

Paonias myops BAMONA, Small-eyed Sphinx. Wild cherry species are the favorites as larval foodplants, but eggs will also be deposited on birches and other forest trees. To the left a second/third instar larva rests on pin cherry. The "red heart" marking readily identifies this species. generally more eastern species; possibly

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, Cerisy's Sphinx; Greatly resemble modesta larvae, both 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 BAMONA??, Twin-spotted Sphinx Larvae feed upon many forest trees including birches and cherries, but are expecially fond of poplars and willows. Red markings on sides vary greatly from specimen to specimen.

Reported by BAMONA in Yavapai, but generally not reported in Arizona

Smerinthus saliceti BAMONA, usually more southerly Salicet Sphinx, flies in valleys and along streamsides from Mexico City north to west Texas, southern Arizona, and extreme southern California. There are two colour morphs, one pale green; one lime green. Willow (Salix) or poplar (Populus).

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

Erinnyis crameri, Cramer's Sphinx, BAMONA. Various plants in the dogbane family (Apocynaceae): Rauvolfia ligustrina, Rauvolfia tetraphylla, Stemmadenia obovata. There is also a brown form. likely as an adult stray; unlikely in larval stage.

Erinnyis ello BAMONA, Ello Sphinx. Papaya (Carica papaya), Cnidoscolus angustidens, poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), guava (Psidium species), saffron plum (Bumelia angustifolia/Bumelia celastrina). Manilkara bahamensis, Willow Bustic (Bumelia salicifolia) and Painted Leaf (Poinsettia heterophylla) are also hosts. Nice socks! Very variable.

Erinnyis obscura, Obscure Sphinx, BAMONA. Rauvolfia ligustrina, Rauvolfia tetraphylla, Stemmadenia obovata, Philibertia, Cynanchum, papaya (Carica papaya), Asclepiadaceae, Blepharodon mucronatum, White vine (Sarcostemma clausum) and Morrenia odorata.

Hemaris thetis BAMONA Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, high bush cranberry, hawthorn (Crataegus). Horn: black with slightly lighter base. This western species was formerly classified as H. diffinis or H. senta. Those species west of the Continental Divide are H. thetis.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon BAMONA, Achemon Sphinx. Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and other vines and ivies (Ampelopsis). Larvae occur in both a light (green) form and a darker (tan/brown) form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines, enclosed in grey outline.

Eumorpha typhon LB/BAMONA, Typhon Sphinx. Larvae occur in both green and darker brown form. Head and some thoracic segments are often retracted when the larva is disturbed. Larvae feed on grape foliage. Creamy white oblique, lateral bands not totally outlined in grey.

Eumorpha typhon Prescott, Yavapai County, September 2, 2017, Leo Bacon

Macroglossini tribe:

Euproserpinus wiesti, BAMONA, Wiest's Primrose Sphinx: Day flyer over sand washes, prairie blow-outs as single brood from May-June. Prairie primrose (Oenothera latifolia) in evening primrose family (Onagraceae). Captive rearing difficult. Larvae need sunshine, heat, humidity.

Hyles lineata BAMONA, White-lined Sphinx. Highly varied and feed on a great diversity of plants including willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), Fuschia. All larvae seem, however, to have red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Proserpinus juanita BAMONA, 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. rare

Proserpinus vega BAMONA, the Vega sphinx

Larvae probably feed on (Onagraceae) including evening primrose (Oenothera), gaura (Gaura), and willow weed (Epilobium).




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