Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Tiffany Joy (Hyles euphorbiae larva, Weld County, September 9, 2009); September 10, 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Tisa Morehead (photographer) via Lisa Petersen (Eumorpha achemon larva, Evans); August 9, 2010

Weld County, Colorado
Sphingidae Larvae

Hyles euphorbiae fifth instar, Poudre River Trail, Greeley, Weld County, Colorado,
September 9, 2009, courtesy of Tyson Fisher via Tiffany Joy.

Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an image, via email to Bill Oehlke. I do not have confirmed reports of all of these species in Weld County, but I (WO) expect they are present.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Tyson Fisher and Tiffany Joy of Greeley, Weld County, Colorado. Tiffany provides the beautiful images of a Hyles euphorbiae larva at top and bottom of this page. Her son Tyson Fisher found the caterpillar.

Eumorpha achemon fifth instar, Evans, Weld County, Colorado,
August 9, 2010, courtesy of Tisa Morehead (photographer) via Lisa Petersen.

Many thanks to Lisa Petersen and her daughter Tisa Morehead for providing image and data for Eumorpha achemon.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini Tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor WO, Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx: Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus). There are both green and brown forms. The four horns near the head are diagnostic.

Ceratomia undulosa USGS, Waved Sphinx: Note the pinkish-orange tail, spiracles outlined in red and the cream stripes on the head.
The dramatic color change from the dorsal yellow-green to the lateral light greyish-blue is not always as intense as in this image.

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

Manduca quinquemaculatus USGS, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth: The caterpillars are called Tomato Hornworms and each has a black horn at the end of the abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Manduca sexta USGS, the Carolina Sphinx

Note the red horn and black dots anterior to the white oblique lines.

If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it.

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

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, Wild Cherry Sphinx: Larvae hide in the day and feed primarily on cherry, plum, and apple at night. Larvae have been found on Amelanchier nantuckensis in Massachusetts and have been reared to pupation in Michigan on Prunus serotina. Note purple oblique lines.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx

This one is reported from Richmond and from northeastern New Jersey into southern Canada.

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

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
This moth is officially recorded in Delaware County. It is fond of poplars and willows.

Pachysphinx occidentalis USGS, the 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, the Blinded Sphinx: Larvae accept willows, birches, and cherries. I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada.

Paonias myops WO, Small-eyed Sphinx: Wild cherry species are favorites as larval foodplants, 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 USGS, Cerisy's Sphinx; Pale green, 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". questionable

Smerinthus jamaicensis USGS, the 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.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe

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

Philampelini Tribe:

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

Eumorpha achemon, Evan, August 9, 2010, Tisa Morehead and Lisa Petersen

Macroglossini Tribe

Amphion floridensis WO, Nessus Sphinix: In additon to Virginia creeper larvae accept Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), cayenne pepper (Capsicum). Larvae are green until the final instar.

Darapsa myron WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx; Grapevine Sphinx: If you have the foodplants indicated in common names, you probably have this species nearby. Lower wings are orange. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, Viburnum.

Euproserpinus wiesti USGS, Wiest's Primrose Sphinx:. Adults fly during the day, over sand washes and prairie blow-outs as single brood from May-June. Prairie primrose (Oenothera latifolia) in evening primrose family (Onagraceae). Trying to rear in captivity has proven difficult. Larvae need sunshine, heat, humidity.

Hyles euphorbiae TJ, Leafy Spurge Hawk Moth: Leafy spurge. Larvae are also conspicuously colored, with pronounced tail or "horn" near rear end. Young larvae are variously patterned with green, yellow, and black; older larvae have distinctive red, black, yellow, and white color pattern. Mature larvae may approach 10 cm in length; when disturbed, they regurgitate a slimy green liquid.

Hyles euphorbiae fifth instar, Poudre River Trail, Greeley, Weld County, Colorado,
September 9, 2009, courtesy of Tyson Fisher via Tiffany Joy.

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

Hyles lineata USGS, White-lined Sphinx: Larvae are highly varied; feed on diversity of plants: 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 flavofasciata WO, Yellow-banded Day Sphinx: Willow weed (Epilobium); possibly thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus). slight possibility

Proserpinus juanita USGS, the Juanita Sphinx: Larvae feed on (Onagraceae) including evening primrose (Oenothera), gaura (Gaura), and willow weed (Epilobium).

Early instars are green and lack the dark sharply contrasting spiracular circles and other patterning.

Hyles euphorbiae fifth instar, Poudre River Trail, Greeley, Weld County, Colorado,
September 9, 2009, courtesy of Tyson Fisher via Tiffany Joy.

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