USGS Pink-spotted hawkmoth,
Strong migrant; adults nectar from
deep-throated flowers including moonflower (Calonyction aculeatum),
morning glory (Convolvulus), honey suckle (Lonicera)
petunia (Petunia species).
Elm Sphinx; Four-horned Sphinx:
Fw upperside: brown with dark brown and white
markings including white costal area near wing base, dark
streaks along veins, white spot in cell.
Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), cherry (Prunus).
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; 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.
generally a more southerly species
The upperside of the forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black
and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot.
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
Larve are not limited to pawpaw.
Northern Pine Sphinx:
The upperside of the forewing is gray with heavy black bands. The upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings.
If you have pines, you
might have this species. It flies on P.E.I.
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.
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.
USGS, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth:
This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens
(potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.
USGS, Carolina Sphinx:
Hw upperside: banded with black and white; has
two black zigzag median lines that are very close together with
hardly any white showing between them.
Larvae can strip a tomato plant.
USGS Cluentius sphinx,
Fw upperside: blurry black with orange
markings. Hw upperside: black with orange at
base and orangish yellow patches between veins,
forming a band across wing.
WO, 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.
Sphinx canadensis, Canadian Sphinx, uncommon, not often reported anywhere,
but it might be present in Cook County.
Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana), blueberry
USGS, 9 Northern Ash
Sphinx; 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.
USGS, the Wild Cherry
Sphinx: 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.
Apple Sphinx: 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.
USGS, the Laurel Sphinx:
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.
the Canadian Sphinx or
The upperside of the forewing is yellowish gray in males and pale
gray with a faint yellow tint in females. In both sexes, the dark
border on the outer margin widens as it approaches the inner margin.
USGS, Poecila Sphinx:
If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the
Poecila Sphinx. They are pretty common here on Prince Edward Island,
but don't fly too far south of Massachusetts.
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.
USGS, 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.
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.
Sphinx;r One-eyed Sphinx: Larvae feed on poplars and willows.
Flight would be from late May-July as single brood.
generally more northerly species
This moth is widely distributed and fairly common, and it is recorded
Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.
USGS, Titan Sphinx:
The body is dark brown with a wide white stripe across the abdomen.
The wings are dark brown. It is very similar to above species, but the
upperside of the hindwing has pale patches along the costa and inner margin. stray
USGS, Ello Sphinx:
Abdomen: very distinct gray and black bands. Female's
fw upperside: pale gray with few dark dots near outer
margin. Male's fw upperside: dark gray and brown with
black band running from base to tip. stray
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. stray
See Hemaris comparison
to help distinguish the next three species.
USGS, Snowberry Clearwing; Bumblebee Moth:
Flies along forest edges, in meadows, gardens,
brushy fields. Day-flyers nectar at lantana, dwarf bush honeysuckle,
snowberry, orange hawkweed, thistles, lilac, Canada violet, etc.
Slender Clearwing; Graceful Clearwing:
Distinguished from similar species by pair of
red-brown bands on undersides of thorax, which varies from
green to yellow-green dorsally and sometimes brown with white
USGS, Hummingbird Clearwing:
This interesting day flier is confirmed for Cook, and is likely common.
They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.
This moth is confirmed for Cook County. 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.
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.
Amphion floridensis, City Escape Gardening
Center, Lake and Sacramento, Chicago,
USGS/BEM, 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.
May 30, 2010, Beth Ellen McNamara
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.
USGS, Virginia Creeper Sphinx;
It is widely reported as far north as southern Maine. If you have the
foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this
If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have
Hydrangea Sphinx. However, it probably is uncommon.
Fw outer margin: deeply scalloped.
Upperside: light brown with dark brown markings.
Small black and white spot near tip.
The upperside of the hindwing is orange-brown with a dark brown
outer margin and median line.
USGS, Bedstraw Hawk Moth
or Gallium Sphinx:
This species is confirmed in Cook County.
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.
Hyles lineata, Park Forest, August 30, 2013, Gordon T. Johnson
USGS/GTJ, 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.
WO, 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.
The upperside of the forewing is pale brown with lavender-gray at the
base and has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout.