Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Stephen Winter, August 11, 2011
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 11, 2011
Updated as per BAMONA, August 12, 2011

Riley County, Kansas
Sphingidae Larvae

Proserpinus juanita fifth instar, Konza Prairie, Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas,
feeding on Stenosiphon linifolius, August 9, 2011, courtesy of Stephen Winter.

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

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Stephen Winter, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University, who sent me the pictures of the Proserpinus juanita larva, feeding on Stenosiphon linifolius, at the top and bottom of this page.

August 11, 2011, Stephen writes, "My friend Neil (ccd on this message) pointed me in the direction of your website. Using it, Im guessing the attached photos are of Proserpinus juanita. The photo was taken at Konza Priarie on August 9th and I think the host plant is Stenosiphon linifolius.

Are you able to confirm the i.d. or tell me otherwise? Feel free to use the images on your website if youd like. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you."

I reply, "Many thanks to you and to Neil for thinking of me. Beautiful images of Proserpinus juanita. They will be a welcome addition to the website.

"Please let me know the Oklahoma county of the sighting. I suspect it is probably Payne County, based on your location in Stillwater??

"It would also be great if you can confirm the hostplant as Stenosiphon linifolius as that would represent a new host recording for this species.

"Once I know the county for sure, I will create a pictoral checklist of the Sphingidae I expect are present.

"Thanks again."

"Thanks for your reply. The photo was actually taken in Kansas.

"My coworkers and I have been working in southeast Nebraska this summer, and we made a trip to Oklahoma earlier this week to move a bunch of equipment back down there now that our field season is over. The specific location was the public nature trail on Konza Prairie just outside of Manhattan, Kansas (we stopped there briefly on our trip back to Nebraska). I think Konza is located in both Riley and Geary Counties, but the portion we were on should be in Riley County.

Our photographs of the caterpillar were probably taken within a couple hundred meters of the location of the image on the Wikipedia page titled "A Konza walking trail in the fall."

The host plant was indeed Stenosiphon linifolius. Im familiar with it from many of the areas Ive worked in and my coworkers are familiar with it from their work this summer. Let me know if you need any other info."

"Many thanks. I will post the images, and add Stenosiphon linifolius as a larval host on the juanita file."

Twenty-two Sphingidae species are listed for Kansas on the BAMONA website. I have added a few which I think might also be present. Not all of the species are anticipated (three: Ceratomia hageni, Sphinx eremitoides, Hemaris diffinis, are listed on BAMONA as of August 2011) in Riley County in northeastern Kansas. It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the caterpillars (larvae) you are likely to encounter.

A "WO" indicates the moth is not reported on the USGS website (now BAMONA) and/or in Lepidoptera of North America, #1, but I (William Oehlke) suspect it is likely 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.

The BAMONA website is an excellent resource. Please also send your sightings to them via the link at the top of the page or to the left.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, WO, possibly as a stray Pink-spotted hawkmoth,

Larvae feed on plants in the Convolvulaceae family, especially Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato) and in the Solanaceae family, especially (Datura) (jimsonweed) and related plants in the Americas. There is also a brown form. Look for very large, dark spiracular circles.

Ceratomia amyntor WO, the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx

Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus). There are both green and brown forms. The four horns near the head are diagnostic.

Ceratomia catalpae WO, the 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 BAMONA/, Hagen's Sphinx or 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, the Waved Sphinx

Fraxinus, Ligustrum, Quercus, Crataegus and Chionanthus virginicus are listed as hosts.

In the fifth instar, the spiracular ovals are decidedly red and the anal horn is off-white to pinkish laterally.

Lintneria eremitoides BAMONA. Larval hosts are Sage (Salvia species). The Lintneria larvae will most often be encountered on Lamiaceae: Salvia (Sage), Mentha (Mints), Monarda (Beebalm) and Hyptis (Bushmints); Verbenaceae: Verbena and Lantana camara (shrub verbenas or lantanas). One is even more likely to discover larvae feeding in the evening or after dark.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

The caterpillars are called Tomato Hornworms and each has a black horn at the end of the abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Manduca sexta WO, the Carolina Sphinx

Tobacco Hornworms, equipped with a red-tipped horn at the end of the abdomen, are true gluttons and feed on tobacco and tomato, and occasionally potato and pepper crops and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Paratrea plebeja WO , the Plebeian Sphinx Preferred hosts are common trumpetcreeper (Campsis radicans), Florida yellow-trumpet (Tecoma stans), lilac (Syringa species), and passionflower (Passiflora species). The anal horn is blue, often preceded by a yellow dash. The head is entirely green, without lateral bands of S. chersis.

Sphinx chersis WO, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx. The larvae are pale bluish green. The head has a pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at the apex. The oblique, lateral stripes are pale and bordered anteriorly with a darker green. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

Sphinx drupiferarum larvae hide in the day and feed primarily on cherry, plum, and apple at night. Larvae have been found on Amelanchier nantuckensis in Massachusetts and have been reared to pupation in Michigan on Prunus serotina from eggs readily oviposited by a female. possibly

Sphinx vashti WO, the Snowberry Sphinx

Larvae feed on the common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and on coralberry (S. orbiculatus).

Note the two golden lines of slightly raised bumps, one just behind the head, the other on the thorax.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, the 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 WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx

Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood.

Paonias excaecata WO, the Blinded Sphinx

Larvae accept willows, birches, and cherries. I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada. generally more eastern species

Paonias myops WO, the Small-eyed Sphinx

Wild cherry species are the favorites as larval foodplants, but eggs will also be deposited on birches and other forest trees. To the left a second or third instar larva rests on pin cherry. The "red heart" marking readily identifies this species. There can be varying degrees of lateral red markings.

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, the 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:

Erinnyis obscura, the Obscure Sphinx, WO
Larvae feed on Rauvolfia ligustrina, Rauvolfia tetraphylla, Stemmadenia obovata, Philibertia, Cynanchum, papaya (Carica papaya), Asclepiadaceae, Blepharodon mucronatum, White vine (Sarcostemma clausum) and Morrenia odorata. rare if present, probably only as an adult moth

Hemaris diffinis WO , the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Larval host plants include Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane (Apocynum) and dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). Horn is black with a yellow base.

Hemaris thysbe BAMONA, the Hummingbird Clearwing

There is also an orangey-pink prepupal form. The lateral line runs from S1 to the blue horn.

Hemaris thysbe larvae feed on viburnum and related plants. generally more eastern species; maybe

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

Larvae feed upon Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and other vines and ivies (Ampelopsis).

Larvae occur in both a light (green) form and a darker (tan/brown) form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines.

Eumorpha pandorus WO, the 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 WO, the 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 myron WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx

If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby. The lower wings are orange. Larvae feed on Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, and Viburnum.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the Lettered Sphinx

Females lay translucent green eggs singly on leaves of the host plant. Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) all serve as larval hosts.

Hyles lineata WO, the White-lined Sphinx

Larvae are highly varied and feed on a great diversity of plants including willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), and Fuschia.
All larvae seem, however, to have the red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Proserpinus juanita SW, the Juanita Sphinx

Larvae feed on (Onagraceae) including evening primrose (Oenothera), gaura (Gaura), and willow weed (Epilobium). rare

Proserpinus juanita, Konza Prairie, Manhattan, August 9, 2011, Stephen Winter.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, the 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.

There is also a dark form without the green patches. Note the "raised eye", replacing the anal horn. generally more eastern species

Proserpinus juanita fifth instar, Konza Prairie, Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas,
feeding on Stenosiphon linifolius, August 9, 2011, courtesy of Stephen Winter.

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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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