Larvae feed on plants in the Convolvulaceae family, especially
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato) and in the Solanaceae family,
especially (Datura) (jimsonweed) and related plants in the
Americas. There is also a brown form. Look for very large, dark
the 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.
This caterpillar is one of the few North American Sphingidae that
feed in large groups. Colouration is distinctive.
are much more spectacular than the moths. Catalpa is the larval host.
WO, Hagen's Sphinx or Osage Orange Sphinx
Larvae feed on osage orange (Maclura pomifera), and they have a granulous appearance with variable amounts of purple
along the oblique white stripes.
Fraxinus, Ligustrum, Quercus, Crataegus and
Chionanthus virginicus are listed as hosts.
In the fifth instar, the spiracular ovals are decidedly red and the
anal horn is off-white to pinkish laterally.
WO, the Pawpaw Sphinx
Larvae feed on pawpaw (Asimina triloba), littleleaf sweetfern
(Myrica aspleniifolia), possum haw (Ilex decidua), and
inkberry (Ilex glabra) as well as Tall Gallberry Holly
This caterpillar is also without the anal horn and feeds on pines.
The long stripes and reddish brown afford great camouflage.
Larvae feed on ash in the Fraxinus genus. Syringa and Ulmus have
also been reported.
Note the black anal horn. very questionable
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).
Note the red horn and black dots anterior to the white oblique lines.
If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it.
Larvae feed at night, hiding on the underside of stems during the
day. Preferred hosts are common trumpetcreeper (Campsis radicans),
Florida yellow-trumpet (Tecoma stans), lilac
(Syringa species), and passionflower (Passiflora species). Questionable
Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx.
This species is not common at lights, and is not
often reported anywhere.
Larval host may be exclusively black ash (Fraxinus nigra).
Variable appearance but always with granulous (darker protrusions) on pinkish horn.
WO, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash
The larvae are pale bluish green. The head has a pair of yellow
lateral bands meeting at the apex. The oblique, lateral stripes are
pale and bordered anteriorly with a darker green.
Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.
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.
Note triangular bump on the thorax.
Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis),
and sage (Salvia).
Larval hosts are apple (Malus), sweetfern (Myrica),
Carolina rose (Rosa carolina), blueberry and huckleberry
(Vaccinium), white spruce (Picea glauca), American
larch (Larix laricina), and alder (Alnus).
In the final instar, the black on the head, lateral lines, horn and on abdominal
legs is diagnostic.
Larvae feed primarily on lilac and fringe.
the Canadian Sphinx or
Larval hosts are willow (Salix), poplar (Populus), birch (Betula),
apple (Malus), ash (Fraxinus), waxmyrtle (Morella), and northern bayberry.
If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the
They are possibly in Shelby County,
but are very much under reported.
Amorpha juglandis larvae feed upon Walnut and butternut (Juglans),
hickory (Carya), alder (Alnus), beech (Fagus),
hazelnut (Corylus), and hop-hornbeam (Ostrya).
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood.
Larvae accept willows, birches, and cherries.
I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada.
Wild cherry species are the 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.
Cerisyi larvae greatly resemble modesta larvae, both being pale
green, with granular skin, pale lateral diagonal lines, faint red
spiracular circles, and very pale longitudinal lines running from the
head to a more pronounced anal diagonal line.
Larvae have green heads bounded dorsally with a pale yellow
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.
Larvae feed on seven year apple, Casasia clusiifolia, common
buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, and white indigoberry,
Randia mitis. Randia monantha, Randia aculeata,
Albizzia adinocephala and Randia grandifolia, all in the
madder family (Rubiaceae), also serve as hosts. rare
Larvae feed on papaya (Carica papaya), Cnidoscolus
angustidens, poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima),
guava (Psidium species) and
saffron plum (Bumelia angustifolia/Bumelia celastrina).
Willow Bustic (Bumelia salicifolia)
and Painted Leaf (Poinsettia heterophylla) are also hosts.
Nice socks! Larvae show considerable variation.
Erinnyis obscura, the Obscure Sphinx,
Larvae feed on Rauvolfia ligustrina, Rauvolfia tetraphylla,
Stemmadenia obovata, Philibertia, Cynanchum, papaya
(Carica papaya), Asclepiadaceae, Blepharodon mucronatum,
White vine (Sarcostemma clausum) and Morrenia odorata.
See Hemaris comparison
to help distinguish the next three species.
Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Larval host plants include Snowberry (Symphoricarpos),
honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane
(Apocynum) and dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera).
Horn is black with a yellow base.
Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing
Larval foods are blueberries including low bush blueberry
(Vaccinium vacillans), and laurel (Kalmia), all in the heath family
WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing
There is also an orangey-pink prepupal form. The lateral line runs
from S1 to the blue horn.
Hemaris thysbe larvae feed on viburnum and related plants.
generally more eastern species
Larvae feed upon Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper
(Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and other vines and ivies
Larvae occur in both a light (green) form and a darker (tan/brown)
form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines.
If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you might encounter
Note the five large white ovals. There are orangey-brown and green
In additon to Virginia creeper larvae accept Grape (Vitis),
ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and cayenne pepper (Capsicum).
Larvae are green until the final instar.
Larvae feed on Azalea and Viburnum and progress very rapidly. The
larva to the left on Viburnum cassinoides is getting ready to
pupate. Color change from green to light burgundy-brown indicates
pupation is imminent.
WO, 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.
Larvae feed on Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia),
Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, and Viburnum.
Larvae feed on Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens),
buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and waterwillow
Note small head which can be retracted into the thorax.
Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) all serve as larval hosts.
The alternating yellow and greyish-green rings across the back
distinguish this larva.
WO, Leafy Spurge Hawk Moth
Larvae feed on leafy spurge. Larvae are also conspicuously colored, with a
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.
WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth
or Gallium Sphinx
This species is not reported in your county, but it
might be present.
Larvae come in black and in brown forms and often feed on
Hyles lineata, What Cheer, October 12, 2015, Gina Smith.
GS, the White-lined Sphinx
Larvae are 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), and Fuschia.
All larvae seem, however, to have the red/black swellings split by
Larvae feed at night on grape (Vitis) and ampelopsis
(Ampelopsis) and hide on the bark of their host plants during
the day. Virginia creeper would also be a suitable host.
There is also a dark form
without the green patches. Note the "raised eye", replacing the anal horn.
Larvae feed on Borreria, Catalpa
and Manettia spp. and
Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra) and starclusters
(Pentas species). They are also recorded on joe-pie weed and
Hamelia patens and on Hedoydis nigricans. The green form may be more