Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Julie Paradowski, (Manduca sexta), September 15, 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Tim and Emma Soderstrom, (Pachysphinx modesta), August, 2008
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 26, 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Katherine Crespo and father Guillermo Crespo, (Hyles lineata), September 26, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA, September 26, 2013

Lake County, Illinois
Sphingidae Larvae

Manduca sexta larva, Waukegan, Illinois,
September 15, 2007, courtesy of Juliet Paradowski.

For care of "found larvae/caterpillars" visit Manduca sexta larva, central Texas, August 21, 2008, Trina Woodall.

Forty-four Sphingidae species are listed on BAMONA for Illinois as of September 26, 2013. Not all of the species are reported (six by USGS as of September 15, 2007; nine by BAMONA as of September 26, 2013) or anticipated (twenty-seven by Bill Oehlke) in Lake County.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Juliet Paradowski who found the Manduca sexta larva on September 15, 2007, in Waukegan.

Juliet writes, "I found this caterpillar on one of my tomato plants today while I was clearing-out my garden. I think it is a Sphinginae, but I couldn't ID it for sure. It was found in Waukegan, in Lake County, IL. Can you positively ID it from the pictures?"

The foodplant and the red anal horn are diagnostic for Manduca sexta. Also note the line of black dots above each oblique white line.

Thanks also to Tim and Emma Soderstrom who sent me the Pachysphinx modesta images below, August 26, 2008.

Tim writes, "Good afternoon! I was wondering if you could help me and my 7 year old daughter figure out what kind of caterpillar this is. I have attached two photos of the caterpillar for you to look at. I found it on a walk in northern Illinois, on August 26th. It was crawling across a stone path in a wooded area. It is about 3" to 4" long and is a pale green color. What can wee feed it? Could it be a type of hawk moth?"

I replied, "It is Pachysphinx modesta, the Poplar sphinx, also called the Modest Sphinx.

"It is done feeding and is ready to pupate. Put it in a little plastic tub with a paper towel on the bottom. Lid on tight, no airholes. In four or five days it will shed its skin and form a pupa.

"It will shrink considerably and give off quite a bit of moisture during the four to five days before it sheds its skin to the pupal stage.

"Please let me know which Illinois county as I am in process of creating county by county pictoral checklists and would like to use your image with credit to you??"

Pachysphinx modesta, Lake Bluff, Lake County, Illinois,
August 26, 2008, Tim and Emma Soderstrom.

Pachysphinx modesta, Lake Bluff, Lake County, Illinois,
August 26, 2008, Tim and Emma Soderstrom.

Note the very short horn. In the final instar it is diagnostic for Pachysphinx modesta.

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

A WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in Chippewa County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this species is 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 which has replaced USGS, incorporating and expanding the data base.

Many thanks to Katherine and Guillermo Crespo who provide the Hyles lineata image below.

Hyles lineata, Highland Park, Lake County, Illinois,
September 25, 2013, courtesy of Katherine Crespo and Guillermo Crespo.

Guillermo writes, "Larva: Highland Park Illinois, 60035, is normal to see here?"

I reply, "Here is my Lake County Sphingidae larvae checklist: Hyles lineata is reported throughout the state of Illinois. I wish permission to add your image of lineata larva, credited to you, to Lake County page??"

Visit Lake County Sphingidae: Adult Moths

Visit Illinois catocala: Underwing Moths

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor WO/BAMONA, Elm Sphinx, Four-horned Sphinx: Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), cherry (Prunus). Both green and brown forms. Four horns near head are diagnostic.

Ceratomia catalpae WO, Catalpa Sphinx: Young caterpillars feed gregariously on Catalpa species (Catalpa bignoniodes and C. speciosa) in the Bignoniaceae family, skeletonizing the foliage. Larvae are mostly white in early instars.

Ceratomia hageni WO, Hagen's Sphinx, Osage Orange Sphinx: Larvae feed on osage orange (Maclura pomifera), and they have a granulous appearance with variable amounts of purple along the oblique white stripes.

Ceratomia undulosa WO, Waved Sphinx: Fraxinus, Ligustrum, Quercus, Crataegus, Chionanthus virginicus. In the fifth instar, the spiracular ovals are decidedly red and the anal horn is off-white to pinkish laterally.

Dolba hyloeus WO, Pawpaw Sphinx: Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), littleleaf sweetfern (Myrica aspleniifolia), possum haw (Ilex decidua), inkberry (Ilex glabra),Tall Gallberry Holly (Ilex coriacea).

Lapara bombycoides WO, Northern Pine Sphinx: This caterpillar is also without the anal horn and feeds on pines. The long stripes and reddish brown afford great camouflage. unlikely possibility

Lintneria eremitus WO, Hermit Sphinx: Note triangular bump on the thorax. Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis), and sage (Salvia).

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Tomato Hornworms: black horn at the end of the abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Manduca sexta USGS/JP, Carolina Sphinx: Tobacco Hornworms, equipped with red-tipped horn at end of abdomen; true gluttons, feed on tobacco and tomato, occasionally potato, pepper crops, plants in nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Paratrea plebeja WO, Plebeian Sphinx: Common trumpetcreeper (Campsis radicans), Florida yellow-trumpet (Tecoma stans), lilac (Syringa species), passionflower (Passiflora species). The anal horn is blue, preceded by a yellow dash. unlikely possibility

Sphinx canadensis WO, Canadian Sphinx: This species is not common at lights, and is not often reported anywhere. Larval host may be exclusively black ash (Fraxinus nigra). Variable appearance but always with granulous (darker protrusions) on pinkish horn.

Sphinx chersis WO, Northern Ash Sphinx, Great Ash Sphinx: Pale bluish green. Head has pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at apex. Oblique, lateral stripes: pale, bordered anteriorly with darker green. Ash, lilac, privet, cherry, quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, Wild Cherry Sphinx: Larvae hide by day, feed primarily on cherry, plum, apple at night. Amelanchier nantuckensis in Massachusetts; Michigan on Prunus serotina. Note purple oblique lines.

Sphinx gordius WO, Apple Sphinx: Apple (Malus), sweetfern (Myrica), Carolina rose (Rosa carolina), blueberry and huckleberry (Vaccinium), white spruce (Picea glauca), American larch (Larix laricina), alder (Alnus).

Sphinx kalmiae WO, Laurel Sphinx: In the final instar, the black on the head, lateral lines, horn and on abdominal legs is diagnostic.

Larvae feed primarily on lilac and fringe.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, Canadian Sphinx, Clemen's Sphinx: Willow (Salix), poplar (Populus), birch (Betula), apple (Malus), ash (Fraxinus), waxmyrtle (Morella), northern bayberry.

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

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, Walnut Sphinx: Walnut and butternut (Juglans), hickory (Carya), alder (Alnus), beech (Fagus), hazelnut (Corylus), hop-hornbeam (Ostrya).

Pachysphinx modesta WO/ T & E S, Modest Sphinx, Poplar Sphinx: Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood. Note very short anal horn.

Pachysphinx modesta, Lake Bluff, August 26, 2008, Tim and Emma Soderstrom

Paonias excaecata USGS, Blinded Sphinx: Larvae accept willows, birches, and cherries. I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada.

Paonias myops WO, Small-eyed Sphinx: Wild cherry species are the favorites as larval foodplants, but eggs will also be deposited on birches and other forest trees. There are varying degrees in the amount of red markings along the sides.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, Cerisy's Sphinx; Pale green, granular skin, pale lateral diagonal lines, faint red spiracular circles, pale longitudinal lines running from head to more pronounced anal diagonal line. Green head bounded dorsally with pale yellow inverted V.

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, Twin-spotted Sphinx: Birches and cherries, expecially fond of poplars and willows. Red markings on sides vary greatly from specimen to specimen.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris diffinis USGS, Snowberry Clearwing: Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane (Apocynum), dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). Horn black, yellow base.

Hemaris gracilis WO, Slender Clearwing, Graceful Clearwing: Blueberries, low bush blueberry (Vaccinium vacillans), laurel (Kalmia), in heath family (Ericaceae).

Hemaris thysbe USGS, Hummingbird Clearwing: Orangey-pink prepupal form. Lateral line runs from S1 to blue horn. Viburnum and related plants. generally more eastern species

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, Achemon Sphinx: Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), vines, ivies (Ampelopsis). Larvae occur in both light (green) form and darker (tan/brown) form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines.

Eumorpha pandorus WO/BAMONA, Pandorus Sphinx: If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you might encounter this species. Note the five large white ovals. There are orangey-brown and green forms also.

Macroglossini Tribe:

Amphion floridensis USGS, Nessus Sphinix: Virginia creeper, Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and cayenne pepper (Capsicum). Larvae are green until the final instar.

Darapsa choerilus WO, Azalea Sphinx: Azalea, Viburnum; progress rapidly. Larva (left) on Viburnum cassinoides, readyin for pupation. Color change from green to light burgundy-brown indicates pupation imminent.

Darapsa myron WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Grapevine Sphinx: If you have foodplants indicated in common names, you probably have myron. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, Viburnum.

Darapsa versicolor WO, Hydrangea Sphinx: Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and waterwillow (Decodon verticillatus). Note small head which can be retracted into the thorax.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, Lettered Sphinx: Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus). The alternating yellow and greyish-green rings across the back distinguish this larva.

Hyles gallii WO, Bedstraw Hawk Moth, Gallium Sphinx: Larvae come in black and in brown forms and often feed on Epilobium (fireweed). unlikely possibility

Hyles lineata USGS, White-lined Sphinx: Highly varied. Willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), Fuschia. Red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, Abbott's Sphinx: Larvae feed at night on grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), hide on bark by day. Virginia creeper. Also dark form without green patches. Note "raised eye", replacing anal horn.

Xylophanes tersa WO/BAMONA (adult moth), Tersa Sphinx: Borreria, Catalpa and Manettia spp., Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), starclusters (Pentas species). Joe-pie weed, Hamelia patens, Hedoydis nigricans. Green form may be more common. breeding populations in southern Illinois

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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