Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Dan Morys (Smerinthus jamaicensis, August 17, 2014), August 18, 2014
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 18, 2014
Updated as per BAMONA, August 18, 2014
Kane County, Illinois
Smerinthus jamaicensis male, Gilberts, Kane County, Illinois,
August 17, 2014, courtesy of Dan Morys.
This page is dedicated to and inspired by Dan Morys who sent me the image of Smerinthus jamaicensis at the top of the page.
As of August 18, 2014, forty-four Sphingidae species are listed on BAMONA for Illinois. Not all of the species are reported (thirteen
by BAMONA as of August 18, 2014:
Manduca quinquemaculatus, M. sexta, Paonias excaecata, Sphinx chersis, S. drupiferarum, S. poecila, Amphion floridensis, Darapsa myron, Deidamia inscriptum,
Eumorpha pandorus, Hemaris diffinis, H. thysbe, Sphecodina abbotti) in Kane 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.
I have included many species for which I have no confirmed reports in Kane County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that these moths are present or might be 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.
Visit Kane County Sphingidae Larvae: Caterpillars; Hornworms
Visit Illinois Catocala: Underwing Moths
If you are travelling, you can find active Sphingidae checklists for all countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbbean via the links at
North, Central, South American Sphingidae checklists
Agrius cingulata, 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, 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, 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, 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.
Ceratomia undulosa, 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, 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, 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.
Lintneria eremitus, 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, Five-spotted Hawkmoth:
This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens (potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.
Manduca sexta, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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 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, 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, 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 , 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, Poecila Sphinx:
If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the Poecila Sphinx.
Sphinx vashti, 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.
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.
Modest Sphinx; Poplar Sphinx:
This moth has a large, heavy body, and
females can be remarkably plump.
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.
Widespread and common. This species ranges across North America.
The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.
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, Gilberts, August 17, 2014, Dan Morys
Smerinthus jamaicensis, 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.
Aellopos titan, 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, 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. 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.
See Hemaris comparison
to help distinguish the next three species.
Hemaris diffinis, 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 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
Hemaris thysbe, 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.
Eumorpha achemon, 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.
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, 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, 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, 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
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, 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, Bedstraw Hawk Moth; Gallium Sphinx:
Not confirmed, but it might be present.
Hyles lineata, 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.
Sphecodina abbottii, 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 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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