Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Matt Aranda, October 11, 2013
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, October 11, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA, October 11, 2013

McLean County, Illinois

Agrius cingulata, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois,
October 11, 2013, courtesy of Matt Aranda, id by Bill Oehlke

Forty-four Sphingidae species are listed on BAMONA website for Illinois as of October 11, 2013. Not all of the species are reported (twelve by BAMONA as of October 11, 2013) or anticipated in McLean County in central Illinois. I have added some additional 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 McLean County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that these moths are present or might be present, sometimes just as adult strays.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Matt Aranda who sent me sighting/images of Agrius cingulata from Bloomington.

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 forward your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Visit McLean County Sphingidae: Larvae (caterpillars).

Visit Illinois Catocala Underwing Moths.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

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

Agrius cingulata, Bloomington, October 11, 2013, Matt Aranda

Ceratomia amyntor WO, Elm Sphinx, Four-horned Sphinx: Brown with dark brown, white markings including white costal area near wing base, dark streaks along veins, white spot in cell.Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia catalpae WO, Catalpa Sphinx: Yellowish brown with no white markings, but there are indistinct black lines, dashes. Cell spot gray with black outline. Hw: yellowish brown with obscure lines. Catalpa.

Ceratomia hageni WO, Hagen's Sphinx, Osage Orange Sphinx: Gray with green tint, indistinct wavy lines, pale gray patches at wing tip and along costa. generally a more southerly species

Ceratomia undulosa WO, Waved Sphinx: Pale brownish gray (occasionally dark) with wavy black and white lines and black-outlined white cell spot.

Dolba hyloeus WO, Pawpaw Sphinx: Dark brown with dusting of white scales. Some moths have patches of reddish or yellowish brown on the wings. Larve are not limited to pawpaw.

Lintneria eremitus WO, Hermit Sphinx: Gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or two small white spots near the center of the costa.

Manduca jasminearum WO Ash Sphinx: Gray to grayish brown with black line running from middle of costa to middle of outer margin; line may be broken near margin. Splash of brown around cell spot.

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

Manduca sexta , BAMONA, Carolina Sphinx: Hindwing 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.

Paratrea plebeja WO, Plebeian Sphinx: Gray with indistinct black and white markings. Series of black dashes from base to tip, and small white cell spot.

Sphinx canadensis WO, Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it might possibly be present in Peoria County.
Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis, BAMONA, Northern Ash Sphinx, Great Ash Sphinx: Soft dark gray to blue-gray with series of black dashes, one of which reaches the wing tip.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, Wild Cherry Sphinx: Dull slate grey with considerable light grey scaling in broad band along costa about 3/4 of distance from body toward apex. Median lines: black, thin. Wavy, diffuse dark subterminal line, inwardly bordered by white, whitish bar terminal area, paralleling outer margin.

Sphinx gordius WO, Apple Sphinx: Highly variable. Fw fringes mostly black with some white; those on hindwing mostly white with few black patches.

Sphinx kalmiae WO, Laurel Sphinx: Lower forewings predominantly brownish-yellow with fairly wide dark bar along inner margin. At rest, wings hug body, giving moth long slender look.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, Canadian Sphinx, Clemen's Sphinx: Yellowish gray in males and pale gray with faint yellow tint in females. Dark border on outer margin widens as it approaches inner margin.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis, BAMONA, Walnut Sphinx: Highly variable; wings may be all one color or may have several colors, from pale to dark brown, may have white or pink tinge. Female is different.

Paonias excaecata, BAMONA, Blinded Sphinx: Fw outer margin quite wavy. Dark cell spot and dark oblique line mid wing from costa almost to inner margin. Basic ground colour pinkish brown. Flight would be June-July.

Paonias myops, BAMONA, Small-eyed Sphinx: Probably widespread and common. This species ranges across North America.

The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,

This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, 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

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, Twin-spotted Sphinx: Note complete (i.e. outer margin to outer margin) off-white arc just below forewing apex. Cerisyi: lower portion of arc does not return to outer margin.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

Erinnyis ello WO, Ello Sphinx: Abdomen: very distinct gray and black bands. Female's fw pale gray with few dark dots near outer margin. Male's fw dark gray and brown with black band running from base to tip. stray

Erinnyis obscura, Obscure Sphinx, WO: 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.

Hemaris diffinis, BAMONA, Snowberry Clearwing: Flies along forest edges, in meadows, gardens, brushy fields. Day-flying adults nectar at lantana, dwarf bush honeysuckle, snowberry, orange hawkweed, thistles, lilac, Canada violet, etc. Black legs.

Hemaris gracilis WO, unlikely, 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, sometimes brown with white underneath.

Hemaris thysbe WO, Hummingbird Clearwing: Irregular edge of burgundy-brown outer margin (left forewing above) projects (mid wing) into clear area of forewing. off-white legs.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, BAMONA, Achemon Sphinx: Fw: light grey and brown with many lines, dark patches near middle of inner margin, near apex, anal angle. Entire basal area of hindwing pink.

Eumorpha pandorus, BAMONA, 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 Nessus Sphinx. Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on abdomen.

Darapsa choerilus WO, Azalea Sphinx: You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus, especially in older literature. Lower wings solid brownish-orange, matching body colour.

Darapsa myron WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Grapevine Sphinx: If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby. Usually with a strong greenish tint, sometimes dull orangey-brown.

Darapsa versicolor WO, 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, Lettered Sphinx: Fw outer margin deeply scalloped. Light brown with dark brown markings. There is a small black and white spot near tip. Hindwing orange-brown with dark brown outer margin and median line.

Hyles gallii WO, Bedstraw Hawk Moth, Gallium Sphinx: Dark brown with slightly irregular cream-coloured transverse line. Outer margin grey. Bright pink band on hindwing.

Hyles lineata, BAMONA, 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.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, Abbott's Sphinx: Mimic bumblebees, "buzzing" when feeding. Wing margins scalloped. Dark brown with light brown bands and markings. Hw: yellow with wide black outer margin

Xylophanes tersa, BAMONA, 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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