Strong migrant and adults nectar from
deep-throated flowers including moonflower (Calonyction aculeatum),
morning glory (Convolvulus), honey suckle (Lonicera), petunia.
Elm Sphinx; Four-horned Sphinx:
Fw upperside: brown with dark brown & white markings including white costal area near wing base, dark streaks along veins,
white cell spot.
Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia),
cherry (Prunus). unlikely
Fw upperside: yellowish brown with no white markings, indistinct black lines and dashes. Cell spot: gray with black outline.
Larvae feed in large groups and are much more spectacular than moths. Catalpa is the larval host.
Fw upperside: pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and black-outlined white cell spot. Hw upperside: gray with
diffuse darker bands.
WO?? very unlikely stray Giant Sphinx:
Fw upperside: blurry yellowish gray. Hw upperside: dark gray with yellow at base and
dark "tooth" projecting from margin into translucent area between each vein.
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 wings.
Cypress; 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.
Southern Pine Sphinx:
Fw upperside: gray with two
(sometimes one or three) black dashes near wing center; other
markings usually diffuse. Hw upperside: uniform brown-gray.
If you've got pines, this species is likely present.
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 rustica, Wauchula, August, 28, 2013, Greg Roehm.
Look for three large yellow spots on each side of abdomen. Fw upperside:
yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown with dusting of white
scales and zigzagged black and white lines.
Manduca sexta, Wauchula, June 6, 2011, Greg Roehm.
If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered Manduca sexta
in the larval stage.
Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.
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.
The upperside of the forewing ranges from brown with black borders
through brownish gray with paler borders to pale gray with no
Highly variable; sometimes 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.
Ffemale is different.
Dull grey-blue spot (minus dark pupil) in hindwing, Wide distribution in the eastern United States.
I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, reported as far south as southern Florida.
WO, Small-eyed Sphinx: Named for small eye-spot in hindwing, wide distribution, probably present in your county.I regularly see them on
Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as southern Florida.
WO??, generally more northerly,
Twin-spotted Sphinx: Widely distributed; fairly common. Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.
slight possibility, generally more northerly
Streaked Sphinx: Fw inner margin indented. Fw upperside: pale yellowish gray in pale form and reddish brown in dark form. Both forms have distinct submarginal
line and dark band along indentation in inner margin. Listed as carteri on BAMONA.
Tantalus Sphinx: Body: reddish brown with wide white band across abdomen. Fw upperside: reddish brown with black cell spot, 3 white spots near gray marginal area.
Pale streak runs from cell spot to inner margin of wing.
This species is reddish, has falcate wings and flies after midnight.
Enyo lugubris, Wauchula, August 30, 2013, Greg Roehm.
Enyo lugubris, Mournful Sphinx, WO/GR: Body, wings: dark brown. Fw has large black patch covering most of outer half of wing.
Pale tan cell spot (dark inner pupil), and fairly straight median line to inside of cell spot.
The upperside of the forewing is dark brown with short yellowish streaks on the forward half and wavy yellowish bands on the rear half.
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
WO, Dominican Sphinx: This moth flies in Haiti and Jamaica south to Paraguay and Bolivia
with occasional sightings in Texas and Arizona, and possibly Florida.
Erinnyis obscura, Obscure Sphinx, WO:
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. possibility
Eupyrrhoglossum sagra, Cuban Sphinx,
WO: The wide brown band down the center of the creamy-grey thorax and uppe rhalf of the abdomen, as well as the bright hindwing yellow band
clearly distinguish this species.
See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next two species.
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.
Slender Clearwing; Graceful Clearwing:
This day-flying moth is less common and has not been recorded in
Manatee County, but it may be present. unlikely
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.
Pachylia ficus, Fig Sphinx, WO:
Fw upperside: orangish brown with paler patch along costa at tip.
Hw upperside: orange to orangish brown with black outer border, black median band, and white spot on outer margin near body.
Phryxus caicus, the Caicus Sphinx,
WO: 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.
Pseudosphinx tetrio, Tetrio Sphinx,
Fw upperside: dark brown with dark spot at
base of costa, blurry gray and white markings. Hw upperside:dark brown with white along inner margin, and
lower half of outer margin. big, colourful larva
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, Wauchula, June 7, 2011, Greg Roehm.
WO/GR, Banded Sphinx:Upperside: dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has
lighter brown band along costa, sharp pinkish white bands and
streaks. Primrose-willow, Ludwigia (water primrose), other plants in evening primrose family.
WO, 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.
Amphion floridensis, Wauchula, August, 28, 2013, Greg Roehm.
WO/GR, Nessus Sphinix: Day flier; widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you
probably have Nessus Sphinx. Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on the abdomen.
Grote's Sphinx: Fw upperside: pale silvery gray with black markings; wing base may be very dark.
Hw upperside: deep yellow-orange with black border that covers less than half wing.
Rarely recorded in U.S., with sightings from FL, SC, NJ, NY,
MA, NH, with northen sightings being rare strays.
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 myron, brown forms, Wauchula, Hardee County, Florida, June 7, 2011, early June, 2012, Greg Roehm.
Virginia Creeper Sphinx; Grapevine Sphinx: If you have creeper or grape, you probably have this
species nearby. Lower wings: orange. Forewings either greenish with bold but diffuse markings, or
brownish with very pale markings.
WO, Hydrangea Sphinx: If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you might have the Hydrangea Sphinx.
WO, 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 wing tip
to base, and white streaks along veins.
Xylophanes tersa, Wauchula, August, 28, 2013, Greg Roehm.
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.
WO// unlikely stray,
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.