Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Nikki Anderson, September 11, 2017
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 11, 2017
Updated as per BAMONA, September 11, 2017

East Baton Rouge Parish, and Nearby Parishes, Louisiana
Sphingidae larvae

Eumorpha fasciatus final instar, East Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
September 11, 2017, courtesy of Nikki Anderson,
Wildlife Disease Biologist Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Eumorpha fasciatus final instar, East Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
September 11, 2017, courtesy of Nikki Anderson,
Wildlife Disease Biologist Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

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 Nikki Anderson who provides the images of Eumorpha fasciatus at top of this page.

Although this page contains only images submitted from East Baton Rouge Parish and references specififc data from BAMONA for EBR, the content serves as a checklist for the nearby parishes of Point Coupee; West Baton Rouge; Iberville; St. Helena; Livingston; East Feliciana; and Ascension.

Twenty-nine Sphingidae species are listed for Louisiana on the BAMONA website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in East Baton Rouge Parish (Ten are reported on BAMONA as of September 11, 2017). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the larvae/caterpillars you are likely to encounter.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in East Baton Rouge Parish, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this species is present or might be present. A "BAMONA" indicates the moth is reported on the BAMONA website and/or in Lepidoptera of North America, #1. Distribution of Silkmoths (Saturniidae) and Hawkmoths (Sphingidae) of Eastern North America, an excellent little booklet available through Paul Opler.

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 submit sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource, via link in header or to the left.

Visit pictoral checklists for Adult Sphingidae Moths of East Baton Rouge and Nearby Counties

Visit pictoral checklist for Underwing Moths (Catocala) of Louisiana.

Visit species-active checklists for Sphingidae in all US states, all Canadian provinces and all of Mexico, and all Central American and South American Countries

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, WO, 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 WO, 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.

Dolba hyloeus WO, the Pawpaw Sphinx
Larvae feed on pawpaw (Asimina triloba), littleleaf sweetfern (Myrica aspleniifolia), possum haw (Ilex decidua), and inkberry (Ilex glabra) as well as Tall Gallberry Holly (Ilex coriacea). Louis Handfield reports larvae probably feed on Ilex verticellata in Quebec.

Isoparce cupressi WO, Cypress or Baldcypress Sphinx. Larvae feed on needles of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) at night and pupate in shallow underground burrows where second generation overwinters.

Lapara coniferarum BAMONA, the Southern Pine Sphinx. Larvae feed upon various pine species, including loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and longleaf pine (P. pinaster). They are well camouflaged and are without an anal horn.

Lapara phaeobrachycerous WO, the Gulf Pine Sphinx

Larvae probably feed upon various pine species, including loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and longleaf pine (Pinus pinaster).

Lintneria eremitus WO, the Hermit Sphinx

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

Manduca jasminearum WO, the Ash Sphinx

Larvae feed on ash in the Fraxinus genus. Syringa and Ulmus have also been reported. Note the black anal horn.

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 rustica WO, the Rustic Sphinx
The caterpillar has numerous white nodules on top of the thorax and seven pairs of oblique, blue-gray stripes along the side of the body. The horn is white at the base and blue-gray at the tip. Many hosts are utilized.

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 BAMONA, 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, preceded by a yellow dash.

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.

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). Note pointed head and granulated skin.

Paonias astylus WO, the Huckleberry Sphinx

It would be more common in southern Massachusetts and is a relatively uncommon species.
Only rarely are they seen in Maine. I never saw one in New Jersey.

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.

The skin is very granulose.

Paonias myops WO, the Small-eyed Sphinx

The larvae depicted is probably third instar.

There may be more red spotting on the sides as larvae mature.

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:

Enyo lugubris, Mournful Sphinx, BAMONA: Visit Enyo lugubris: three different larval colour forms. Vitus tiliifolia; members of Vitaceae family: Vitis, Cissus, Ampelopsis. Reported on Possum Vine (Cissus sicyoides); Pepper Vine (Ampelopsis arborea). "Horn" very long in early instars; head relatively large. As larva matures, body develops rapidly, leaving head relatively small and "horn" relatively short.

Hemaris thysbe WO, 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.

Hemaris diffinis WO, 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.

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 fasciatus NA/BAMONA, Banded Sphinx. Primrose-willow, Ludwigia (water primrose) and other plants in evening primrose family. Hornless larva is highly variable. Look for large, dark spiracular circles and a dark line in the center of the back. See image at bottom of this page.

Eumorpha fasciatus, September 11, 2017, Nikki Anderson

Eumorpha intermedia WO, Intermediate Sphinx. Eumorpha intermedia larvae feed upon peppervine, Ampelopsis arborea. Possibly they will also accept grape (Vitis species), but so far no records of that host have been reported to my knowledge. They like to remain well hidden within tangle of vines and probably feed mostly at night.

Eumorpha pandorus BAMONA, 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 BAMONA, 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 choerilus BAMONA, the Azalea Sphinx

Larvae feed on Azalea and Viburnum and progress very rapidly. The larva to the left on Viburnum cassinoides is getting ready to pupate. Color change from green to light burgundy-brown indicates pupation is imminent.

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.

Darapsa versicolor WO, Hydrangea Sphinx. Larvae turn a deep chocolate brown just prior to pupation, and the "horn" on the tail also turns downward as pupation draws near. Darapsa versicolor larvae feed on Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and waterwillow (Decodon verticillatus).

Deidamia inscriptum BAMONA, the Lettered Sphinx

Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) all serve as larval hosts.

The alternating yellow and greyish-green rings across the back distinguish this larva.

Hyles lineata WO, 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 guarae WO, the Proud Sphinx

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

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.

Xylophanes tersa BAMONA, the Tersa Sphinx

Larvae also feed on Borreria, Catalpa and Manettia spp. and Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra) and starclusters (Pentas species). They are also recorded on joe-pie weed and Hamelia patens and on Hedoydis nigricans. The green form may be more common.


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.

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