Inspired by and dedicated to Jim and Bonnie Hay, (Gratiot Lake Conservancy, Mohawk, Keweenaw County, Michigan; June, 29, 2013); July 4, 2013
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America; July 4, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA; July 4, 2013

Keweenaw County

Aellopos titan, Gratiot Lake Conservancy, Mohawk, Keweenaw County, Michigan,
at the Lizzadro Preserve on the shore of Lake Superior,
June, 29, 2013, courtesy of Jim Hay, via Bonnie Hay.

Aellopos titan, Gratiot Lake Conservancy, Mohawk, Keweenaw County, Michigan,
at the Lizzadro Preserve on the shore of Lake Superior,
June, 29, 2013, courtesy of Jim Hay, via Bonnie Hay.

Occasionally Aellopos titan is encountered in the northern United States in early to late fall, and such sightings are usually attributed to moths being displaced or greatly aided in flight distances by hurricane force winds. The moth depicted above, in very good shape, is quite a surprise for so far north so early in the summer.

Perhaps the recent tornados and strong windstorms, or extreme heat further south, have encouraged a migration or allowed for great displacement.

There is also a possibility of a pupa being unwittingly imported in soil of a purchased plant from further south.

Bonnie writes, "I am curious to know if it is breeding here, or if it has blown in as some migrating birds do who are blown off course (we are on a major spring bird migration route)."

I (Bill Oehlke) reply, I do not think there are breeding populations north of the extreme southern US states. Wind assistance would be my first guess at an explanation.

Bonnie Hay is the Program Director of the Gratiot Lake Conservancy.

P.O. Box 310
Mohawk , MI 49950
Phone: 906-337-5476

This page is inpsired by Jim and Bonnie Hay. Jim photographed the Aellopos titan specimen, and Bonnie notified me of the sighting and sent the images.

Forty-one Sphingidae species are listed on the BAMONA website for Michigan. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Keweenaw County. (four by BAMONA as of July 4, 2013):

Lapara bombycoides, Northern pine sphinx
Hemaris diffinis, Snowberry Clearwing
Hemaris thysbe, Hummingbird Clearwing
Hyles lineata, White-lined Sphinx

I (Bill Oehlke) have added many 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 Keweenaw County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present.

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.

Please aslo send your sighitngs to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor WO, 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.

Ceratomia undulosa WO, 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.

Lapara bombycoides BAMONA, the Northern Pine Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is gray with heavy black bands. The upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth: This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens (potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.

Sphinx canadensis WO, Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it might possibly be present in Mackinac County.Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis WO, 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 WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

We have them on P.E.I., but I do not see them nearly as frequently as I see the other Sphingidae.

Sphinx kalmiae WO, the Laurel Sphinx

The lower forewings are predominantly brownish-yellow with a fairly wide dark bar along the inner margin. At rest the wings hug the body, giving the moth a long slender look.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing is yellowish gray in males and pale gray with a faint yellow tint in females. In both sexes, the dark border on the outer margin widens as it approaches the inner margin.

Sphinx poecila USGS, 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 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.

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx: This large poplar/willow feeder is reported in Mackinac County.

They are a heavy bodied species.

Paonias excaecata WO, 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 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.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, 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 WO, the Twin-spotted Sphinx: This moth is widely distributed and fairly common, and it is recorded in Mackinac. Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

Aellopos titan J&BH, the Titan Sphinx: Body brown with a wide white stripe across the abdomen. Wings are dark brown. The upperside of the hindwing has pale patches along the costa and inner margin. stray

Aellopos titan, Gratiot Lake Conservancy, Mohawk, June, 29, 2013,
at the Lizzadro Preserve on the shore of Lake Superior, courtesy of Jim Hay, via Bonnie Hay.

Hemaris diffinis BAMONA, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth: Flies along forest edges and in meadows, gardens, 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.

Hemaris thysbe BAMONA, the Hummingbird Clearwing

They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.

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: 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.

Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx: This species is reported in Mackinac, and it has been recorded in Michigan counties north and south.
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata BAMONA, 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.

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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