This species is not recorded in Suffolk County but may appear
as a stray from much further south.
The moth is a very strong flier and is frequently
encountered far north of its usual range.
the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx:
FW upperside is brown with dark brown and white markings including a white costal area near the wing base,
dark streaks along the veins, and a white spot in the cell. HW upperside is light brown and has a dark brown band along the outer margin.
Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).
The upperside of the forewing is yellowish brown with no white markings, but there are indistinct black lines and dashes. The
cell spot is gray with a black outline and the upperside of the hindwing is yellowish brown with obscure lines.
The body is gray, spindle-shaped, and 30-35mm long.
Catalpa is the larval host.
Ceratomia undulosa WO,
The upperside of the forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot.
The upperside of the hindwing is gray with diffuse darker bands.
Some individuals are very dark, almost black, and others are light yellowish brown.
The upperside of the forewing is dark brown with a dusting of white scales. Some moths have patches of reddish or yellowish brown on the wings.
Larve are not limited to pawpaw.
The upperside of the forewing is gray with heavy black bands. The upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings.
The underside is rather plain.
WO, the Southern Pine Sphinx:
FW upperside is gray with two (sometimes one or three) black dashes near the wing center; other markings are usually diffuse. HW upperside is a uniform brown-gray.
There is also an extensive reddish brown patch in the
median area near the forewing inner margin.
This species is probably present in Suffolk County.
The upperside of the forewing is gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or
two small white spots near the center of the costa.
The upperside of forewing is gray to grayish brown with a black line running from the middle of the costa to the middle of the outer margin;
the line may be broken near the margin. There is a splash of brown around the cell spot. The upperside of the hindwing is mostly black,
with gray at the lower margin.
Manduca quinquemaculatus USGS
the Five-spotted Hawkmoth:
Moth abdomen usually has five, sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. FW upperside blurry brown and gray. HW upperside
banded with brown and white, has two well-separated median zigzag bands. FW fringes grayish, not distinctly spotted with white.
Manduca sexta USGS,
the Carolina Sphinx: Abdomen usually has six pairs of yellow bands, broken across the back. Sixth set of markings quite small.
FW upperside has indistinct black, brown, and white markings.
HW upperside banded with black and white, two black zigzag median lines very close together with hardly any white showing between them.
The upperside of the forewing is gray with indistinct black and white markings. There is a series of black dashes from the base to the tip,
and a small white cell spot. The upperside of the hindwing is dark gray with an obscure dark median band.
Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx: FW upperside gray-brown or yellow-gray with black streaks along and between the veins
and an interrupted white line along the outer margin. HW upperside black with white bands.
Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry
Sphinx chersis WO, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx
This species is probably present, but may not be common.
Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.
This species is probably present and would fly in May/June and
August. We have them on P.E.I., but I do not see them nearly as frequently
as I see the other Sphingidae.
This species is present in Plymouth County.
Colouration and markings are highly variable from one specimen to
another. The fringes on forewing are mostly
black with some white; those on the hindwing are mostly white with a
few black patches.
This species is not reported in Suffolk, but I suspect it is present.
I have taken them on P.E.I., Canada, and reared them on
At rest the hindwings are usually completely covered.
Sphinx luscitiosa WO,
the Canadian Sphinx or
This one is not reported from Suffolk, but it flies
to the south and in western Massachusetts and may be present.
If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the
They are pretty common here on Prince Edward Island, but don't fly
too far south of Massachusetts, being replaced by Sphinx gordius
Amorpha juglandis WO,
the Walnut Sphinx
The adults are also highly variable; sometimes wings of an individual may be all one color or may have several colors,
ranging from pale to dark brown, and may have a white or pink tinge. Patterns range from faint to pronounced.
See the file for the female; she is different.
Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump.
Both sexes rest with wings parallel to the resting surface, with the upper lobes of the hindwings protruding above the forewings. The lower abdomen of the
male arcs upward toward the head, while the abdomen of the female hangs strait down on a vertical surface.
Paonias excaecata WO, the Blinded Sphinx:
Fw outer margin is quite wavy. Dark cell spot and dark oblique line mid wing from costa almost to inner
margin. Basic ground colour is pinkish brown.
At rest hws are almost completely hidden.
Males demonstrate a strong curve to the abdomen.
Moth gets name from the blue-gray pupil surrounded by black, with hot pink wing scales in hw basal area.
Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution
and is probably common in Suffolk.
I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.
This species is very similar to Smerinthus jamaicenssis. Note the incomplete pale arc just below the forewing apex in
Note the complete pale arc (C-shaped in right forewing) just below the apex.
Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.
See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish
the next three species.
USGS, the Hummingbird Clearwing
It is not difficult to see why many gardeners would mistake an Hemaris thysbe moth for a small hummingbird as it hovers,
sipping nectar from flowers through a long feeding tube.
Hemaris gracilis WO,
The Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing
These moths are diurnal and are most often seen nectaring during the day at flowers. Note the smooth inner edge of the burgundy
forewing outer margin and the reddish upper surface of the legs.
Hemaris diffinis USGS, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Hemaris diffinis is a very variable species, but almost always the abdomen sports contrasting black and yellow hairs, the ventral surface being quite black.
The legs also tend to be quite dark and there is a
black mask running across the eye and along the sides of the thorax.
This moth is reported for Plymouth (should also be present in Suffolk),
and it is fairly often reported
along the coast from southern New Jersey
to central Maine.
Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.
This moth is a very strong flier and is often reported far north of
its normal range.
It would be a rare stray to Suffolk.
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.
This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you
probably have the Nessus Sphinx.
Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow
bands are often visible on the abdomen.
They are common in New Jersey and common
here on Prince Edward Island.
You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus,
especially in older literature.
Darapsa myron WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
The forewing upperside is dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with an olive tint, often quite green and vibrant.
On the costal margin there is a dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent. The upperside of the hindwing is pale orange.
If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have the
It has not been widely reported, however, and
probably is uncommon.
This species has been recorded in western Massachusetts and just
south of Essex so it should also be in Suffolk.
It is generally absent to the north so would be uncommon.
Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth
or Gallium Sphinx
This species is reported in Essex and Nantucket in June, so it should be present in Suffolk.
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.
Hyles lineata WO,
the White-lined Sphinx
This species is not officially reported from Suffolk County,
but it is a strong migrator from the south,
and there are records from the west and to the north.
This moth is very much under reported. It is a
rapid day flier so is probably not in too many collections.
Grape is a popular larval host.