Charlevoix County, Michigan

Hemaris thysbe, nectaring at butterfly bush, northern Michigan (Charlevoix County),
courtesy of Julie Christiansen, August 24, 2005.

Forty-six Sphingidae species are listed in the USGS for Michigan. Not all of the species are reported (twelve by USGS: Elm sphinx; Waved sphinx; Great ash sphinx; Laurel sphinx; Northern pine sphinx; Twin-spotted sphinx; One-eyed sphinx; Blinded sphinx; Walnut sphinx; Modest sphinx; Hummingbird clearwing; Snowberry clearwing) or anticipated in Charlevoix County.

I (Bill Oehlke) have added eighteen species which I feel may be present.

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 Charlevoix County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Julie Christiansen who sent me the images of Hemaris thysbe, top and bottom of this page.

Julie writes, "Thought I saw a baby humingbird yesterday and took some great shots of them but they turned out to be a moth. I'm sending you these images and if you could tell me if this one is a Hummingbird Moth? They are so fasinating to watch.

.....Sure thought for a second of a hummingbird."

Bill Bouton (BB) has also provided me with some species sightings from Charlevoix. I have indicated those contributions with Bill's initials.

Hemaris thysbe, nectaring at butterfly bush, northern Michigan (Charlevoix County),
courtesy of Julie Christiansen, August 24, 2005.

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.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor BB/USGS, the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing 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. Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia undulosa BB/USGS, the Waved Sphinx

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.

Lapara bombycoides BB/USGS, the Northern Pine Sphinx

This species is officially reported from Charlevoix.

If you have pines, you might have this species. It also flies on P.E.I.

Manduca quinquemaculata WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens (potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.

Manduca sexta WO, the Carolina Sphinx

This species is not recorded in Charlevoix. It is a strong migrant, however.If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it.

Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

Sphinx canadensis BB/WO, Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it might possibly be present in Charlevoix County.

Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis USGS, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is soft dark gray to blue-gray with a series of black dashes, one of which reaches the wing tip.

Sphinx drupiferarum BB/WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

This species is not oficially reported in Charlevoix County. We have them on P.E.I., but I do not see them nearly as frequently as I see the other Sphingidae.

Sphinx eremitus WO, the Hermit Sphinx

This species is not reported in Charlevoix.

Generally it is not widely reported, but still is a possibility.

Sphinx kalmiae BB/USGS, the Laurel Sphinx

This species is reported in Charlevoix County. I have taken them on P.E.I., Canada, and reared them on lilac.

At rest the hindwings are usually completely covered.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx

This one is not officially reported from Charlevoix, but it may be present.

Sphinx poecila WO, the Poecila Sphinx

If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the Poecila Sphinx.

They are pretty widespread throughout Michigan.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis BB/USGS, the Walnut Sphinx

The adults are 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.

Paonias excaecata BB/USGS, the Blinded Sphinx,

The outer margin of the forewing is quite wavy. There is a dark cell spot and a dark oblique line mid wing from the costa almost to the inner margin. Basic ground colour is pinkish brown.

Flight would be June-July.

Paonias myops BB/WO, the Small-eyed Sphinx

This small species is 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 USGS, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,

This large poplar/willow feeder is reported in Charlevoix County.

They are a heavy bodied species.

Smerinthus cerisyi USGS, 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.

Smerinthus jamaicensis BB/USGS, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

This moth is widely distributed and fairly common, and it is recorded in Charlevoix.

Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

Visit Hemaris comparison to distinguish the following three species.

Hemaris diffinis USGS, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth,

The moth flies along forest edges and in meadows, gardens and brushy fields. Day-flying adults nectar at lantana, dwarf bush honeysuckle, snowberry, orange hawkweed, thistles, lilac, Canada violet, etc.

Hemaris gracilis WO, The Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing

This day flier is not commonly reported, but might be present in Charlevoix County.

Hemaris thysbe JC/USGS, the Hummingbird Clearwing

This interesting day flier is confirmed for Charlevoix, and is reported in neighbouring counties. They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.

Hemaris thysbe, Charlevoix, August 24, Julie Christiansen.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is not reported for Charlevoix, but it may be present.
Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

Eumorpha pandorus WO, the 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, the Nessus Sphinix

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.

Darapsa choerilus WO, the Azalea Sphinx

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
This moth is not recorded on the U.S.G.S. site for Charlevoix County. It is widely reported in southern Michigan and in southern Ontario. If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the Lettered Sphinx

This species has not been recorded in Charlevoix.

It is seen in southern Ontario, however, and in central and southern Michigan.

Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This species is not reported in Charlevoix, but it has been recorded in Michigan counties north and south. I suspect it is present.
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata WO, the 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, the Abbott's Sphinx

This moth is very much under reported on USGS. It is a rapid day flier so is probably not in too many collections.

Grape is a popular larval host.

Hemaris thysbe, nectaring at butterfly bush, northern Michigan (Charlevoix County),
courtesy of Julie Christiansen, August 24, 2005.

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