Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Don Perry, August 29, 2013
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 29, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA, August 29, 2013

DeKalb County, Illinois

Hyles lineata Genoa, DeKalb County, Illinois,
August 27, 2013, courtesy of Don Perry.

This page is dedicated to and inspired by Don Perry who sent me the link above for a YouTube video of Hyles lineata nectaring.

Don writes, "I'm a retired science teacher with a pond in my backyard. Two evenings ago, I had several Sphinx moths visit the plants that surround the pond. I video-recorded them and my wife took photos of them. We identified them as Hyles lineata. I thought you might be interested in the video, which contains three photographs at the end of the video. Surprisingly, one of the moths was suddenly taken by a frog as I was recording. I live in Genoa, Illinois, which is in DeKalb County. Here is the link to the video, which I posted to one of my YouTube channels (dperry428):"

Forty-four Sphingidae species are listed on BAMONA for Illinois. Not all of the species are reported (six by BAMONA as of August 29, 2013) in DeKalb County in northern Illinois. I have added some species which I feel may be present (at least occasionally).

It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you have encountered.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in DeKalb County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that these moths are present.

Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an image, via email to Bill Oehlke.

Please also send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, WO Pink-spotted hawkmoth, unlikely stray: Strong migrant; adults nectar from deep-throated flowers including moonflower (Calonyction aculeatum), morning glory (Convolvulus), honey suckle (Lonicera), petunia.

Ceratomia amyntor WO, 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, and white spot in cell. Larvae: Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia catalpae WO, the Catalpa Sphinx

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 WO, 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 WO, the Waved Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot.

Dolba hyloeus WO, 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 wings. Larve are not limited to pawpaw.

Lapara bombycoides WO, the Northern Pine Sphinx: Fw upperside: gray with heavy black bands. Hw upperside: brownish gray with no markings. If you have pines, you might have this species. It flies on P.E.I.

Lintneria eremitus WO, Hermit Sphinx: 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.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth: This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens (potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.

Manduca sexta BAMONA, 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 get very large, can strip a tomato plant.

Neococytius cluentius, WO Cluentius sphinx, unlikely stray: Fw upperside: blurry black with orange markings.Hw upperside: black with orange at base and orangish yellow patches between veins, forming band across wing.

Paratrea plebeja WO, unlikely stray. Plebeian Sphinx: Fw upperside: 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 WO, Canadian Sphinx, uncommon, not often reported anywhere, but it should be present in your county.

Larval hosts: white ash (Fraxinus americana); blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis WO, 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.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, 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.

Sphinx gordius WO, 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.

Sphinx kalmiae WO, 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.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, Canadian Sphinx; Clemen's Sphinx: 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.

Sphinx poecila WO, Poecila Sphinx: If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the Poecila Sphinx.

Sphinx vashti WO, Snowberry Sphinx: single-brooded moths fly in montane woodlands and along prairie streamcourses from April to August. Fw upperside: narrow black subterminal line bordered by white inverted V-shaped line on outside, and black line at apex.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, Walnut Sphinx: 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.

Pachysphinx modesta BAMONA, Modest Sphinx; Poplar Sphinx: This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump.

Paonias excaecata BAMONA, Blinded Sphinx: Fw outer margin 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 BAMONA, Small-eyed Sphinx: Widespread and common. This species ranges across North America. The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, Cerisyi's Sphinx; One-eyed Sphinx: Poplars; willows. Flight would be from late May-July as a single brood. Look for incomplete light arc near forewing apex.

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, Twin-spotted Sphinx: Look at right forewing tip where light coloration forms complete letter "c" by meeting outer margin below apex. Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

Aellopos titan WO, Titan Sphinx: Body: dark brown with wide white stripe across abdomen. Wings: dark brown. Very similar to other species, but upperside of hindwing has pale patches along costa and inner margin. unlikely

Erinnyis ello WO, 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 is dark gray and brown with a black band running from base to tip. unlikely stray

Erinnyis obscura, Obscure Sphinx, WO: At night adults nectar at flowers, including bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis); Asystasia gangetica beginning at dusk.

July and August are flight times in southern states. unlikely

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris diffinis WO, Snowberry Clearwing; Bumblebee 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.

Hemaris gracilis WO, unlikely, Slender Clearwing or 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 below. questionable

Hemaris thysbe WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing: This interesting day flier is confirmed for Cook and McHenry, and is likely common. They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon BAMONA, the Achemon Sphinx: 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 WO 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.

Macroglossini Tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO, Nessus Sphinix: Widely distributed day flier. 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 WO, 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 WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx; Grapevine 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 species nearby.

Darapsa versicolor WO, the Hydrangea Sphinx: If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have the Hydrangea Sphinx.

However, it probably is uncommon.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the Lettered Sphinx: Fw outer margin: deeply scalloped. The upperside is light brown with dark brown markings. There is small black and white spot near tip. Hw upperside is orange-brown with dark brown outer margin and median line.

Hyles gallii WO, Bedstraw Hawk Moth; Gallium Sphinx: Not confirmed, but it might be present. Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata DP/BAMONA, White-lined Sphinx: Adults usually fly at dusk, during the night, and at dawn, but they also fly during day over wide variety of open habitats: deserts, suburbs, gardens.

Hyles lineata, Genoa, August 27, 2013, courtesy of Don Perry.

Sphecodina abbottii 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 WO, possible stray, generally more southerly, the Tersa Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is pale brown with lavender-gray at the base and has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout.

Enjoy some of nature's wonderments, giant silk moth cocoons. These cocoons are for sale winter and fall. Beautiful Saturniidae moths will emerge the following spring and summer. Read Actias luna rearing article. Additional online help available.

Eggs of many North American species are offered during the spring and summer. Occasionally summer Actias luna and summer Antheraea polyphemus cocoons are available. Shipping to US destinations is done from with in the US.

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