WO 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).
Ceratomia amyntor, June 22, 2013, Thomas Jantscher
the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx:
Fw upperside 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.
Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and
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 and the upperside of the hindwing
is yellowish brown with obscure lines.
Catalpa is the larval host.
Ceratomia hageni, Shimek State Forest, May 19, 2012, Thomas Jantscher
Hagen's Sphinx or Osage Orange Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing is gray with a green tint and has dark
indistinct wavy lines, and pale gray patches at the wing tip and
along the costa.
Ceratomia undulosa, Shimek State Forest, Croton Unit East, June 22, 2013
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 forewing is gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and
one or two small white spots near the center of the costa.
This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens
(potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.
Manduca sexta, July 13, 2013; Thomas Jantscher
WO/TJ, the Carolina Sphinx
The upperside of the hindwing is banded with black and white and has
two black zigzag median lines that are very close together with
hardly any white showing between them
Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.
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.
Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere,
but it might possibly be present in Linn County.
Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry
WO, the Northern Ash
Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing is soft dark gray to blue-gray with a series of black dashes,
one of which reaches the wing tip.
Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the
moth is at rest. We have them on P.E.I.,
but I do not see them nearly as frequently as I see the other Sphingidae.
WO, very questionable in Iowa, the
Colouration and markings are highly variable from one specimen to another.
The fringes on forewing are mostly black with some white; those on
the hindwing are mostly white with a few black patches.
The lower forewings are predominantly brownish-yellow with a fairly
wide dark bar along the inner margin. At rest the wings hug the body,
giving the moth a long slender look.
Amorpha juglandis, June 22, 2013; Thomas Jantscher
The adults are also highly variable; sometimes wings of an individual
may be all one color or may have several colors, ranging from pale to
dark brown, and may have a white or pink tinge.
See the file for the female; she is different.
Paonias excaecata, Shimek State Forest, July 21, 2012, Thomas Jantscher
TJ, the 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, Shimek S.F., Croton Unit East, June 22, 2013, July 20, 2013; Thomas Jantscher
the Small-eyed Sphinx
This small species is probably widespread and common. This species ranges across North America.
The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,
This moth has a large, heavy body, and
females can be remarkably plump.
WO, questionable in Lee County, the Cerisyi's
Sphinx or One-eyed Sphinx,
Larvae feed on poplars and willows.
Flight would be from late May-July as a single brood.
Questionable, generally more northerly species
This moth is widely distributed and fairly common, and is probably present.
Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.
possible stray, the Titan Sphinx.
The body is dark brown with a wide white stripe across the abdomen.
The wings are dark brown. The upperside of the hindwing has
pale patches along the costa and inner margin. This species would likely only occur as a fall stray.
Erinnyis obscura, October 16, 2012, Tom Jantscher.
Erinnyis obscura, the Obscure Sphinx,
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. It would likely only be seen in Iowa as a fall stray.
See Hemaris comparison
to help distinguish the next two species.
Hemaris diffinis, September 3, 2012, Thomas Jantscher
TJ, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth,
The moth flies along forest edges and in meadows, gardens and
brushy fields. Day-flying adults nectar at lantana, dwarf bush honeysuckle,
snowberry, orange hawkweed, thistles, lilac, Canada violet, etc.
WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing
This interesting day flier is not confirmed for Marshall.
They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.
the Achemon Sphinx
I suspect it is present. It is fairly often
reported along the east coast from southern New Jersey
to central Maine.
Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.
Eumorpha pandorus, July 13, 2013; Thomas Jantscher
If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have
this species. I often get asked to identify larvae from areas where
they have not previously been reported.
WO, 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.
Darapsa choerilus: July 20, 2013; Thomas Jantscher
WO, probably limited to extreme eastern Iowa/TJ,
the Azalea Sphinx
They are common in New Jersey and common
here on Prince Edward Island.
You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus,
especially in older literature.
Darapsa myron, Shimek State Forest, May 19, 2012; gas station, June 8, 9, 2013; Thomas Jantscher
TJ, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the
It is widely reported as far north as southern Maine. If you have the
foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this
the Lettered Sphinx
The moth's outer margin of the forewing is deeply scalloped.
The upperside is light brown with dark brown markings.
There is a small black and white spot near the tip.
The upperside of the hindwing is orange-brown with a dark brown
outer margin and median line.
WO, possibly, but generally more northwesterly, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth
or Gallium Sphinx
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.
Hyles lineata, Keokuk, September 28; October 16, 24, 2012, Thomas Jantscher.
TJ, the White-lined Sphinx
Adults usually fly at dusk, during the night, and at dawn, but they
also fly during the day over a wide variety of open habitats
including deserts, suburbs, and gardens.
2013: June 8, July 13, September 7, October 2; Thomas Jantscher
This moth is very much under reported on USGS. It is a
rapid day flier so is probably not in too many collections.
Grape is a popular larval host.
Xylophanes tersa, July 13, October 2, 2013; Thomas Jantscher
The upperside of the forewing is pale brown with lavender-gray at the
base and has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout.