Agrius cingulata, September 28, 2010, October 12, 2013; Tom Jantscher
TJ 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 9; July 4, 2010, Tom Jantscher
the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx:
The upperside of the forewing 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
Ceratomia catalpae, July 7, 18, 2010, Tom Jantscher
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.
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, May 27; June 9, 10, 13, 21, 30; July 4, 18, 21; Tom Jantscher
The upperside of the forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black
and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot.
Lintneria eremitus June 19; July 28-20, August 5, 11; Tom Jantscher
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.
Lintneria eremitus, nectaring at common milkweed and bouncing bet, Rock Island Preserve, June 28; July 7, 2011,
Tom Jantscher; July 8, 2012, Hitaga Sand Ridge prairie Preserve, TJ
2012: July 8, 22; August 3; Thomas Jantscher
Manduca quinquemaculatus, October 10, 2010 only in Story County so far; Tom Jantscher
This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens
(potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.
Manduca quinquemaculatus, nectaring at petunia, Noelridge Park,
Cedar Rapids, Linn Co.,
September 4, 2011; Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, June 27, 2012 Tom Jantscher.
2012: June: 24, 27; July 29; 2013: September 30; Thomas Jantscher
Manduca sexta July 12, 18, August 1, 14, 19, 25, 28; Tom Jantscher
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.
Manduca sexta, nectaring at bouncing bet, Hitaga Sand Ridge Prairie Preserve, September 2,
2011; June 24, 2012; Tom Jantscher.
2012: June: 10, 15, 19, 24, 27, 29; July 8, 15, 22, 29; August 5, 15, 22, 31; Thomas Jantscher
2013: July 8, 12, 19, 21; August 18; October 7; Thomas Jantscher
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.
Sphinx kalmiae, July 23; August 5, 2010; Tom Jantscher
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.
Sphinx kalmiae nectaring at bouncing bet, Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center,
August 3, 2011;
nectaring at bouncing bet, Hitaga Sand Ridge Prairie Preserve, August 12, 12011.
Amorpha juglandis, May 25, June 12; June 29, 2013 (larvae), Tom 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, June 30, July 2, 8, 2010, Tom 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, July 11, 16-17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 31; August 1, 2010, Tom Jantscher
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.
Paonias myops, Rock Island Preserve, June 12, 2011, Tom Jantscher
Pachysphinx modesta female, at light at Xavier High School, July 19, 2011, Tom Jantcher
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,
This moth has a large, heavy body, and
females can be remarkably plump.
WO, questionable in Linn 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 it is expected
Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.
Aellopos titan, August 3, 2012, Tom Jantscher
stray (TJ), 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. John has seen them
nectaring on his butterfly bush
in September of 2005 and 2006.
Erinnyis obscura, August 31, 2012; October 1, 2013; Thomas 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.
See Hemaris comparison
to help distinguish the next two species.
Hemaris diffinis, May 9; June 19; July 17, 31; Tom 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.
July 17, Buchanon County; Mark Jantscher
Hemaris thysbe, August 27, Tom Jantscher
TJ, 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.
Lee County: July 10, September 12, Tom Jantscher
Eumorpha achemon: 2012: June: 15, 24, 29; July 8; Thomas Jantscher
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 achemon, Hitaga Sand Ridge Prairie Reserve, July 8, 2010, Thomas Jantscher
2013: June 30; July 8, 12, 19, Thomas Jantscher.
Eumorpha fasciatus, October 3, 2012: October 3, 4, 11, 2013; Thomas Jantscher
fall migrant; TJ, Banded Sphinx
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 pandorus, July 12, 16, Tom 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.
Eumorpha pandorus, nectaring at bouncing bet, Rock Island Preserve, July 17, 2011, Tom Jantscher
Eumorpha pandorus, Hitaga Sand Ridge Prairie Reserve, June 15, 2012, Thomas Jantscher.
2012: June 15, 19, 24, 27, 29; July 6, 8, 15, 22, 29; August 5, 15; Thomas Jantscher
2013: July 8, 12, 19, 21; August 18; Thomas Jantscher
Amphion floridensis: 2012: June 17, Thomas Jantscher
WO/TJ, 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 larva, August 13-14, 2013; Thomas Jantscher
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, June 19, July 23, 31; August 3, 2010; Tom 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
Deidamia inscriptum, May 20, 2010; Tom Jantscher
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, May 26, June 26, 30, July 7-8, 12, 14-18, 22-24, 28-29, 31;
August 1, 3-6, 8, 10-11, 13-14, 19, 25-29, 31; September 11-12, 27-30; October 1-4, 6-8, 10; Tom Jantscher
TJ; very common, White-lined Sphinx:
Adults usually fly at dusk, at night, at dawn, but they
also fly during the day over a wide variety of open habitats
including deserts, suburbs, gardens.
Hyles lineata, nectaring at bouncing bet, Hitaga Sand Ridge Prairie Preserve, October 8, 2011,
nectaring at petunia, Noelridge Park, Cedar Rapids, October 9, 2011, Tom Jantscher;
Hitaga SRPP, June 10, 2012, TJ; Noelridge Park, Cedar Rapids, September 25, 2012, TJ
2012-2013: June 10, 15, 19, 24, 27; July 6, 8, 15, 19, 21, 22, 29; August 3, 5, 10, 15, 18, 22, 24, 25, 30, 31; September 25, 30; October 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12; Thomas Jantscher
WO, the Abbott's Sphinx
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 31; August 1, 3-6, 8, 10-11, 14, 27, 29, 31; Tom Jantscher
the Tersa Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing is pale brown with lavender-gray at the
base and has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout.
Xylophanes tersa, nectaring at bouncing bet, Hitaga Sand Ridge Prairie Preserve,
September 9, 2011, Tom Jantscher.
2012: June 15; August 3, 24; Thomas Jantscher