Mackinac County
Sphingidae

Sphinx chersis, July 16, 2006, Curtis, Mackinac County, northern Michigan,
courtesy of Mike and Jill DeVries.

Forty-six Sphingidae species are listed in the USGS for Michigan. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Mackinac County. (sixteen by USGS: Waved sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa); Great ash sphinx (Sphinx chersis); Wild cherry sphinx (Sphinx drupiferarum); Laurel sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae); Clemen's sphinx (Sphinx luscitiosa); Poecila sphinx (Sphinx poecila); Walnut sphinx (Amorpha juglandis); Modest sphinx (Pachysphinx modesta); Blinded sphinx (Paonias excaecata); One-eyed sphinx (Smerinthus cerisyi); Twin-spotted sphinx (Smerinthus jamaicensis); Snowberry clearwing (Hemaris diffinis); Slender clearwing (Hemaris gracilis); Hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe); Nessus sphinx (Amphion floridensis) and Bedstraw hawkmoth (Hyles gallii)).

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

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Mike and Jill DeVries who sent me the images of Sphinx chersis at the top and bottom of this page.

Mike writes, "The pictures were taken on the steps of the Kaarle Cottage in Curtis on South Manistique Lake.

"Thatís the first one of these Iíve ever seen. Kind of looked like a small flying mouse. I didnít see it fly though. It spent one day on the step to the cabin we rented. It took off sometime the following night."

Based on the image at bottom of the page, I suspect the moth may not have flown in. Perhaps it emerged from its subterranean chamber near the steps and climbed there to hang and inflate.

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 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 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.

Lapara bombycoides WO, 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 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

If you grow tomatoes, you may encounter it.

Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

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 M&JD/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 chersis, July 16, 2006, Curtis, Mike and Jill DeVries

Sphinx drupiferarum USGS, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

This species is present in Mackinac 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

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.

Sphinx kalmiae USGS, 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 USGS, 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 USGS, 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 USGS, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,

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

They are a heavy bodied species.

Paonias excaecata 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 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 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. It is reported in Mackinac.

Smerinthus jamaicensis USGS, 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.

Adult, August 10, Jonathon Tubbs

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini Tribe:

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 USGS, The Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing

This day flier is not commonly reported, but is present in Mackinac.

Hemaris thysbe USGS, the Hummingbird Clearwing

This interesting day flier is not confirmed for Otsego, but is reported in neighbouring counties. They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is not reported for Otsego, 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 USGS, 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 Otsego 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 Mackinac.

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

Hyles gallii USGS, 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 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.

Sphinx chersis, July 16, 2006, Curtis, Mackinac County, northern Michigan,
courtesy of Mike and Jill DeVries.

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