Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 15, 2014
Updated as per BAMONA, August 15, 2014

Allen County, Northern Indiana
Sphingidae Larvae

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

Thirty-four Sphingidae species are listed for Indiana on the BAMONA website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Allen County (Three are reported on BAMONA as of August 15, 2014: Pachysphinx modesta; Eumorpha pandorus; Hemaris thysbe). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

I (William Oehlke) have added many species to the list which I expect 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 electronic image, via email to Bill Oehlke.

Please also send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent on-line resource.

Visit Allen County Sphingidae: Adult Moths; Hawkmoths

Visit Indiana 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

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor, Elm Sphinx, Four-horned Sphinx: Both brown and green forms and are unmistakeable due to four horns on the thorax (near the head). Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia catalpae, Catalpa Sphinx: This caterpillar is one of the few North American Sphingidae that feed in large groups. Colouration is distinctive. The larvae are much more spectacular than the moths. Catalpa is the larval host.

Ceratomia hageni, 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, Waved Sphinx: Note the pinkish-orange tail, spiracles outlined in red and the cream stripes on the head.
The dramatic color change from the dorsal yellow-green to the lateral light greyish-blue is not always as intense as in this image.

Dolba hyloeus, Pawpaw Sphinx: Note the smooth skin, blue-black horn and small black spiracles.
Pawpaw is the primary host. Littleleaf sweetfern, possum haw, inkberry, tall gallberry holly and others are also utilized.

Lapara bombycoides, Northern Pine Sphinx: Without the anal horn and feeds on pines. The long stripes and reddish brown afford great camouflage.

Lintneria eremitus, 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, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Note the solid black horn and dark spiracular rings. In addition to the white oblique lines, there are fainter white rings, especially on the back. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca sexta, Carolina Sphinx: Note the red horn and black dots anterior to the white oblique lines. If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it.

Paratrea plebeja, Plebeian Sphinx: Feed at night, hiding on nderside of stems during the day. Common trumpetcreeper (Campsis radicans), Florida yellow-trumpet (Tecoma stans), lilac (Syringa species), passionflower (Passiflora species).

Sphinx canadensis, Canadian Sphinx: Uncommon at lights, 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, Northern Ash Sphinx, Great Ash Sphinx: Pale blue horn, creamy-white stripes on head. Yellow form has red horn. Ash, lilac, privet, cherry and quaking aspen.

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

Sphinx franckii, Franck's Sphinx Moth: Larvae feed exclusively on various species of ash (Fraxinus).

Raised, pointed bumps, especially near the head and thorax give this caterpillar a reptilian appearance.

Sphinx gordius, 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, 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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

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

Pachysphinx modesta, Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
It is fond of poplars and willows.

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

Paonias myops, 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 jamaicensis, Twin-spotted Sphinx: Larvae feed upon many forest trees including birches and cherries, but are expecially fond of poplars and willows. Red markings on sides vary greatly from specimen to specimen.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

Hemaris thysbe, Hummingbird Clearwing: Orangey-pink prepupal form. The lateral line runs from S1 to the blue horn. Viburnum and related plants.

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

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, Achemon Sphinx: Larvae feed upon Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and other vines and ivies (Ampelopsis). Both a light (green) form and a darker (tan/brown) form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines.

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

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis, Nessus Sphinix: In additon to Virginia creeper larvae accept Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and cayenne pepper (Capsicum).

Larvae are green until the final instar.

Darapsa choerilus, Azalea Sphinx: Azalea, Viburnum; progress very rapidly. Larva, left, on Viburnum cassinoides is getting ready to pupate. Color change from green to light burgundy-brown indicates pupation imminent.

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

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

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

Hyles lineata, 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, Abbott's Sphinx: Larvae feed at night on grape (Vitis) and ampelopsis (Ampelopsis) and hide on the bark of their host plants during the day. Virginia creeper would also be a suitable host. Also dark form without green patches. Note "raised eye", replacing anal horn.

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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