Inspired by and dedicated to Gail Youmans, July 2011; August 13, 2011
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 13, 2011
Updated as per BAMONA, August 13, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Sue Hiegel (Eumorpha achemon, Littleton, June 27, 2012); June 30, 2012
Updated as per personal communication with Ashlee (Eumorpha achemon, Westminster, July 7, 2014); July 7, 2014

Jefferson County, Colorado


Eumorpha achemon, Lakewood, Jefferson County, Colorado,
July 2011, courtesy of Gail Youmans.

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

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Gail Youmans who sends the image of Eumorpha achemon at top of the page.

Gail writes, August 10, 2011, "Does seeing this moth mean anything for the winter moths? Will it be an early winter etc?"

I reply, "Hi Gail,

"I request permission to post your image of Eumorpha achemon, the Achemon Sphinx, to a Jefferson County thumbnail page that I will create??

"This is typical flight time for that species in Colorado. It does not indicate anything other than that you have breeding populations of Eumorpha achemon in your area."

Many thanks also to Sue Hiegel who sends this picture of Eumorpha achemon from Littleton, June 29, 2012.

Eumorpha achemon, Littleton, Jefferson County, Colorado,
June 27, 2012, courtesy of Sue Hiegel.

Thirty-three Sphingidae species are listed for Colorado on the BAMONA website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Jefferson County (twenty are reported on BAMONA. as of August 13, 2011). 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 (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be present, although unreported. A "BAMONA" indicates the moth is confirmed on USGS site (now BAMONA).

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 submit sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource, via link to left or top of page.

Eumorpha achemon is probably quite common in Jefferson County as four different people have sent images of that species as of July 7, 2014.

Eumorpha achemon, Westminster, Jefferson County, Colorado,
July 7, 2014, courtesy of Ashlee.

Visit Colorado Catocala: Underwing Moths.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor BAMONA, the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is brown with dark brown and white markings including a white costal area near the wing base, dark streaks along the veins, and a white spot in the cell. edge of range

Ceratomia catalpae BAMONA, as a stray or misidentified.

Ceratomia undulosa BAMONA, Waved Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot.
It is named for the wavy lines on the forewings.

Lintneria separatus WO, the Separated Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is dark gray with black and light gray wavy lines. The upperside of the hindwing is black with a brownish gray border and two white bands.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth: This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens (potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found. edge of range

Manduca sexta BAMONA, the Carolina Sphinx

If you grow tomatoes, you may have encountered it, but it has not been officially reported in La Plata County. Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant. edge of range

Sphinx asellus BAMONA, Asella sphinx: Forewing is pale silver-gray with a series of black dashes, a white patch at the tip, and a white stripe along the outer margin. Hindwing is black with blurry white bands. edge of range

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

Sphinx dollii WO, the Doll's sphinx: Sphinx dollii (Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches (4.5 - 6.3 cm)), flies in arid brushlands and desert foothills from Nevada and southern California east through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico to Oklahoma and Texas. (possibly in western Boulder County)

Sphinx drupiferarum BAMONA, the Wild Cherry Sphinx: Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth is at rest. The costal and terminal areas of the forewing are much lighter than slate grey colouration of the rest of the wing.

Sphinx gordius BAMONA, the Apple Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing ranges from brown with black borders through brownish gray with paler borders to pale gray with no borders. Dashes, submarginal line, and cell spot are usually weak.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, the Canadian Sphinx; Clemen's Sphinx: Fw: yellowish gray in males and pale gray with a faint yellow tint in females (female to left). Dark border on outer margin widens as it approaches inner margin. Hw upperside is deep yellow in males, pale yellow in females, both with wide dark border.

Sphinx perelegans BAMONA, probably confused with Sphinx vashti. I doubt Sphinx perelegans is present anywhere in Colorado.

Sphinx vashti BAMONA, the Snowberry Sphinx: Snowberry Sphinx adults fly as a single brood in montane woodlands and along prairie streamcourses from April to August.
The upperside of the forewing has a narrow black subterminal line bordered by a white inverted V-shaped line on the outside, and a black line at the apex.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx modesta BAMONA, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx: This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump. Lines are blurred, less distinct than in P. occidentalis.

Pachysphinx occidentalis BAMONA, the Big Poplar Sphinx: This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta being smaller and darker.

Moths should be on the wing from June-August.

Paonias excaecata BAMONA, Blinded Sphinx: The outer margin of the forewing 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. Flight would be June-July.

Paonias myops BAMONA, the Small-eyed Sphinx

Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, the Cerisyi's Sphinx or One-eyed Sphinx: Larvae feed on poplars and willows.4 Flight would be from late May-July-early August as a single brood.

Smerinthus jamaicensis BAMONA, the Twin-spotted Sphinx: This moth is widely distributed and fairly common.

Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida. It is less common in the southwest.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Erinnyis ello WO, Ello Sphinx: This species is reported in Boulder County, but would likely only be there as a migrant stray from further south. Males and females differ. Might occasionally appear in your county.

Hemaris diffinis BAMONA, Snowberry Clearwing; Bumblebee Moth: Very variable, almost always abdomen sports contrasting black and yellow hairs, ventral surface being quite black. Legs also tend to be quite dark; there is black mask running across eye and along sides of thorax.

Hemaris senta, BAMONA, Rocky Mountain Clearwing: Possibly just a form of diffinis or actually thetis; brownish-olive or olive-green heads and thoraxes. Abdomen, which has broad yellow band, black or olive-green above, yellow below. Wings have very narrow brown border; clear parts of wings have steel-blue luster.

Hemaris thetis, WO, Thetis Clearwing: These moths, possibly just a form of diffinis, have brownish-olive or olive-green heads, thoraxes. Abdomen, which has broad yellow band, black or olive-green above and yellow below. Wings have very narrow brown border and clear parts of wings have steel-blue luster. generally in western Colorado

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon BAMONA, the Achemon Sphinx: Adults nectar from flowers of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), petunia (Petunia hybrida), mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), and phlox (Phlox). Fight would be from June to August. Larvae feed on grape foliage.

Eumorpha achemon, Lakewood, July 2011, courtesy of Gail Youmans.
Eumorpha achemon, Littleton, June 27, 2012, courtesy of Sue Hiegel.
Eumorpha achemon, Westminster, July 9, 2012, 8:20pm (not quite dark), Cindi Kalb and Jana Johns

Eumorpha achemon, Westminster, July 7, 2014, Ashlee

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 myron WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx; Grapevine Sphinx: Forewing dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with olive tint, sometimes quite green. On costal margin there is dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent. Hindwing is pale orange.

Euproserpinus wiesti WO, Prairie Sphinx or Wiest's Primrose Sphinx: Black body with white band on abdomen. FW upperside gray-brown; median area has black lines and gray band; underside white with black o. m.. Hw upperside yellowish white with narrow black o. m., black at base.

Hyles euphorbiae WO, the Spurge Hawk Moth
The body is light brown with various white and dark brown markings, while the wings have a conspicuous tan, brown, and pink or red color pattern. Range is spreading.

Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx: This species is not reported in your county, but it may be present, as it is reported in northern CO.

Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata WO, White-lined Sphinx: Fw dark olive brown with paler brown along costa and outer margin, a narrow tan band running from the wing tip to the base, and white streaks along the veins. The hindwing upperside is black with a reddish pink median band.

Proserpinus juanita BAMONA, the Juanita Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is pale gray-green with a deep green-brown median area and a white dash at the wing tip.

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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