Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Jason Tormo, September, 2005
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 30, 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Kelli Whitney, 2009-2010; July 21, 2013
Updated as per personal communication with A. Fhuf (Eumorpha fasciatus); January 2, 2013

Broward County, Florida
Sphingidae

Eumorpha labruscae, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,
September 25, 2005, courtesy of Jason Tormo.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Jason Tormo who sent me the image of the Eumorpha labruscae moth at top of this page.

Jason writes, "I found your site and wonder if you could tell me a little about this moth.

"It was hanging around my property and I found it so interesting I took a photo.

"What kind of moth is it?

"I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"Feel free to use the picture."

Sixty-five Sphingidae species are listed for Florida on the U.S.G.S. website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Broward County (Twelve species are reported on U.S.G.S.; now BAMONA). 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 have no confirmed reports of this species in Broward County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be present.

A "USGS" 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. Some species are difficult to identify; I am happy to try to help.

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

A special thanks to Kelli Whitney, Park Naturalist II, Long Key Nature Center, Broward County Parks and Recreation, who has also begun to send me sightings and images from Broward County.

Many thanks to A. Fhuf who sends this New Year's Day special!

Eumorpha fasciatus, Broward County, Florida, January 1, 2013, courtesy of A. Fhuf.

I do not know what the weather is like in southern Florida today, probably nice and warm, but, here on PEI in eastern Canada, we are in a deep freeze with much snow on the ground.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, WO/KW, Pink-spotted hawkmoth: This species is a strong migrant and adults nectar from deep-throated flowers including moonflower (Calonyction aculeatum), morning glory (Convolvulus), honey suckle (Lonicera) and petunia (Petunia species).

Agrius cingulata, Long Key Nature Center, June 23, 2013, Kelli Whitney.

Ceratomia catalpae WO, the 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 undulosa WO, the Waved Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot. The upperside of the hindwing is gray with diffuse darker bands.

Cocytius antaeus, USGS The Giant Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is a blurry yellowish gray. The upperside of the hindwing is dark gray with yellow at the base and a dark "tooth" projecting from the margin into the translucent area between each vein.

Dolba hyloeus USGS, the 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.

Isoparce cupressi USGS, the Cypress or Baldcypress Sphinx

Isoparce cupressi, the rare Cypress Sphinx, flies in Cypress swamps in Georgia (specimen type locality), and from Maryland to Texas. It has been reported in Mexico.

Lapara coniferarum USGS, the Southern Pine Sphinx: The upperside is of the forewing is gray with two (sometimes one or three) black dashes near the wing center; other markings are usually diffuse. The upperside of the hindwing is a uniform brown-gray. If you've got pines, this species is likely present.

Manduca jasminearum WO, the Ash Sphinx

The upperside of forewing is gray to grayish brown with a black line running from the middle of the costa to the middle of the outer margin; the line may be broken near the margin. There is a splash of brown around the cell spot.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

If you grow tomatoes, you might encounter Manduca quinquemaculata.

Manduca rustica USGS/KW, the Rustic Sphinx

Look for three large yellow spots on each side of the abdomen. The upperside of the forewing is yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown with a dusting of white scales and zigzagged black and white lines.

Manduca rustica, Long Key Nature Center, May 2, 2011, Kelli Whitney.

Manduca sexta WO/KW, the 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. unlikely

Manduca sexta, Long Key Nature Center, June 15, 2008, Kelli Whitney.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Paonias excaecata WO, the Blinded Sphinx

Named for the dull grey-blue spot (minus dark pupil) in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution in the eastern United States. I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as southern Florida. unlikely, more northerly

Paonias myops WO, the Small-eyed Sphinx

Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is probably present in Broward County.

I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as southern Florida.

Protambulyx carteri WO/KW, Carter's Sphinx: The forewing is indented at the inner margin and the upperside is yellow to orangish brown with faint markings and no dark submarginal line. equated with strigilis, James P. Tuttle, 2007, based on rearing results.

Protambulyx strigilis WO/KW/CP, the Streaked Sphinx: The inner margin of the forewing is indented. The upperside of the forewing is pale yellowish gray in the pale form and reddish brown in the dark form. A dark submarginal line runs from the apex to the anal angle.

Protambulyx strigilis, June 5, 2008, courtesy Kelli Whitney.
Protambulyx strigilis, December 13, 2009, courtesy of Carmen Phillips.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

Aellopos tantalus WO, the Tantalus Sphinx

The body is reddish brown with a wide white band across the abdomen. The forewing upperside is reddish brown with a black cell spot and 3 white spots near the gray marginal area. A pale streak runs from the cell spot to the inner margin of the wing.

Callionima falcifera WO

This species is reddish, has falcate wings and flies after midnight.

It might be in Broward County as a stray.

Callionima parce WO, the Parce sphinx

This species is easily confused with C. falcifera and may or may not be present in Broward County.

See the species file.

Enyo lugubris, the Mournful Sphinx, WO/KW: The body and wings are dark brown. The forewing has a large black patch covering most of the outer half of the wing. There is a pale tan cell spot (dark inner pupil), and a fairly straight median line to the inside of the cell spot.

Enyo lugubris, August 28, 2009, coourtesy of Kelli Whitney.

Erinnyis alope WO, the Alope Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is dark brown with short yellowish streaks on the forward half and wavy yellowish bands on the rear half.

Erinnyis crameri, the Cramer's Sphinx, WO

The upperside of the abdomen is gray, without black bands, and the underside does not have black spots. The upperside of the forewing is dark brown, and may have pale yellow-brown patches along the inner edge.

Erinnyis ello WO/KW, the Ello Sphinx

The abdomen has very distinct gray and black bands. The female's forewing upperside is pale gray with a few dark dots near the outer margin.

Erinnyis ello, September 2008, Kelli Whitney
Erinnyis ello, August 8, 2009, Kelli Whitney
Erinnyis ello, March 5, 2010, Kelli Whitney

Erinnyis obscura, the Obscure Sphinx, USGS

During the night adults nectar at flowers, including bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) and Asystasia gangetica beginning at dusk.

July and August are flight times in the southern states.

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next two species.

Hemaris thysbe WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing

It is not difficult to see why many gardeners would mistake an Hemaris thysbe moth for a small hummingbird as it hovers, sipping nectar from flowers through a long feeding tube. questionable

Hemaris diffinis WO, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to dark greenish-brown. The abdomen tends to be dark (black) with 1-2 yellow segments before the tip. unlikely

Madoryx pseudothyreus, False-windowed Sphinx, WO: The wing margins are scalloped. The upperside of the forewing is brown with dark brown and tan markings. The forewing has a V-shaped white spot near the center of the costa.

Perigonia lusca, the Half-blind Sphinx or Coffee Sphinx, WO

The wings and body are dark brown. The upperside of the forewing has darker median and submedian bands, and gray along the outer margin.

Phryxus caicus, the Caicus Sphinx, USGS

The abdomen of the Caicus sphinx has distinct black and tan bands. The upperside of the forewing is brown with a tan band along the inner margin and a thin tan streak in the middle of the wing.

Pachylia ficus, the Fig Sphinx, USGS: Forewing upperside is orangish brown with paler patch along the costa at the tip. Hindwing upperside is orange to orangish brown with a black outer border, a black median band, and a white spot on the outer margin near the body.

Pseudosphinx tetrio, the Tetrio Sphinx, USGS

The upperside of the forewing is dark brown with a dark spot at the base of the costa and blurry gray and white markings. The upperside of the hindwing is dark brown with white along the inner margin, and the lower half of the outer margin. big, colourful larva

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the 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 USGS/KW, the Banded Sphinx: The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. Larvae feed upon primrose-willow, Ludwigia (water primrose) and other plants in the evening primrose family.

Eumorpha fasciatus, June 15, 2008, courtesy Kelli Whitney, Park Naturalist II,
Long Key Nature Center, Broward County Parks and Recreation

Eumorpha labruscae USGS/Jason Tormo , the Gaudy Sphinx: The Gaudy Sphinx flies in America, and although primarily a tropical species, it has been taken as far north as Saskatchewan as a stray. Forewings are a vibrant grey-green.

Eumorpha pandorus WO, the 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 vitis WO, the Vine Sphinx: The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks.
Note positioning of lowest thin forewing white line (inside the thick center lines) as compared to E. fasciatus.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO/KW, the 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.
Also note two small yellow patches in each concave region of the forewing fringe.

Amphion floridensis, August 29, 2008, courtesy Kelli Whitney, Park Naturalist II,
Long Key Nature Center, Broward County Parks and Recreation
Amphion floridensis, March 27, 2010, courtesy Kelli Whitney, Park Naturalist II,
Long Key Nature Center, Broward County Parks and Recreation

Cautethia grotei WO, the Grote's Sphinx

This species is rarely recorded in the U.S., but there are sightings in the east from Florida, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Darapsa choerilus WO, the 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. questionable, more northerly

Darapsa myron WO/KW, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx: If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby. The lower wings are orange. In southern Florida forewings are often orangey-brown instead of grey-green. There is also a grey-brown form

Darapsa myron, orangey-brown form, Long Key Nature Center, February; September; Kelli Whitney.

Darapsa myron WO/KW, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx: If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby. The lower wings are orange. Grey-brown form depicted here. In southern Florida forewings are often orangey-brown instead of grey-green.

Darapsa myron, grey-brown form, Long Key Nature Center, February; September; Kelli Whitney.

Darapsa versicolor USGS, the Hydrangea Sphinx

If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you might have the Hydrangea Sphinx.

Hyles lineata USGS/KW, the White-lined Sphinx

The forewing upperside is dark olive brown with paler brown along the costa and outer margin, a narrow tan band running from the wing tip to the base, and white streaks along the veins.

Hyles lineata, August 29, 2009, coourtesy of Kelli Whitney.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, the Abbott's Sphinx

This moth is 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. unlikely, more northerly

Xylophanes pluto USGS/KW, the Pluto Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is olive green with a paler median band and pale lines with purple shading along them. The upperside of the hindwing has a white spot surrounded by black at the base, a wide orangish yellow median band, and a brown to greenish band along the outer margin.
The head and flared thorax of larva suggest the appearance of a snake.

Xylophanes pluto, August, 1, 2009, Kelli Whitney, Park Naturalist II,
Long Key Nature Center, Broward County Parks and Recreation

Xylophanes porcus WO stray, the Porcus Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is olive-brown with lighter brown along the outer margin. The upperside of the hindwing is brown with some paler spots.

Xylophanes tersa WO/KW, the Tersa Sphinx

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

Xylophanes tersa, August, 2009, Kelli Whitney, Park Naturalist II,
Long Key Nature Center, Broward County Parks and Recreation
Xylophanes tersa, March 8, 2010, Kelli Whitney

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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