Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America; August 2, 2014
Updated as per BAMONA; August 2, 2014

Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota
Sphingidae Larvae

For care of "found larvae/caterpillars" visit Manduca sexta larva, central Texas, August 21, 2008, Trina Woodall.

Thirty-seven Sphingidae species are listed for Minnesota on the BAMONA website as of August 2, 2014. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Lake of the Woods County (Only one species, Hyles lineata is reported on BAMONA as of August 2, 2014). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

I (William Oehlke) have included many species not on the BAMONA list for Minnesota; I believe they are or might be present.

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 send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent on-line resource.

Visit Lake of the Woods County Sphingidae: Sphinx Moths; Hawks Moths

Visit Minnesota Catocala: Underwing Moths

If you are travelling, you can find active Sphingidae checklists for all countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbbean via the links at North, Central, South American Sphingidae checklists

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor, Elm Sphinx; 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 undulosa, 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.

Lapara bombycoides, Northern Pine Sphinx. This caterpillar is also without the anal horn and feeds on pines. The long stripes and reddish brown afford great camouflage.

Lintneria eremitus, Hermit Sphinx. Note triangular bump on the thorax.

Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis), and sage (Salvia).

Sphinx canadensis, Canadian Sphinx. This species is not common at lights, and is not often reported anywhere. Larval host may be exclusively black ash (Fraxinus nigra). Variable appearance but always with granulous (darker protrusions) on pinkish horn.

Sphinx chersis, Northern Ash Sphinx; Great Ash Sphinx: Pale bluish green. Head has pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at apex. Oblique, lateral stripes pale, bordered anteriorly with darker green. Ash, lilac, privet, cherry, quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum, Wild Cherry Sphinx. Larvae hide in the day and feed primarily on cherry, plum, and apple at night. Larvae have been found on Amelanchier nantuckensis in Massachusetts and have been reared to pupation in Michigan on Prunus serotina. Note purple oblique lines.

Sphinx gordius, Apple Sphinx. Larval hosts are apple (Malus), sweetfern (Myrica), Carolina rose (Rosa carolina), blueberry and huckleberry (Vaccinium), white spruce (Picea glauca), American larch (Larix laricina), and alder (Alnus).

Sphinx kalmiae, 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.

Sphinx luscitiosa , Canadian Sphinx; Clemen's Sphinx. Larval hosts are willow (Salix), poplar (Populus), birch (Betula), apple (Malus), ash (Fraxinus), waxmyrtle (Morella), and northern bayberry.

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

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis, Walnut Sphinx. Amorpha juglandis larvae feed upon Walnut and butternut (Juglans), hickory (Carya), alder (Alnus), beech (Fagus), hazelnut (Corylus), and hop-hornbeam (Ostrya).

Pachysphinx modesta, Modest Sphinx; Poplar Sphinx. Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood.

Paonias excaecata, Blinded Sphinx. Larvae accept willows, birches, and cherries. I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada.

Paonias myops, Small-eyed Sphinx. Wild cherry species are the favorites as larval foodplants, but eggs will also be deposited on birches and other forest trees. There are varying degrees in the amount of red markings along the sides.

Smerinthus cerisyi, Cerisy's Sphinx; Pale green, granular skin, pale lateral diagonal lines, faint red spiracular circles, very pale longitudinal lines running from head to more pronounced anal diagonal line. Green heads bounded dorsally with pale yellow inverted "V".

Smerinthus jamaicensis, 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:

See Hemaris comparisons.

Hemaris diffinis, Snowberry Clearwing; Bumblebee Moth: Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane (Apocynum). dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). Horn black; yellow base.

Hemaris gracilis, Slender Clearwing; Graceful Clearwing. Larval foods are blueberries including low bush blueberry (Vaccinium vacillans), and laurel (Kalmia), all in the heath family (Ericaceae). range limit

Hemaris thysbe, 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.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon generally more southerly ??, 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 pandorus, 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. (doubtful presence in northern Minnesota)

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis, 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, 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, Virginia Creeper Sphinx; Grapevine Sphinx. If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby. Larvae feed on Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, and Viburnum.

Hyles euphorbiae, Leafy Spurge Hawk Moth Leafy spurge. Conspicuously colored, with pronounced tail or "horn" near rear end. Young larvae variously patterned with green, yellow, black; older larvae have distinctive red, black, yellow, white color pattern. Mature larvae may approach 10 cm in length; when disturbed, they regurgitate slimy green liquid.

Hyles gallii, Bedstraw Hawk Moth; Gallium Sphinx. This species is not reported in Chippewa, but it has been recorded in eastern Wisconsin counties. I suspect it is present.
Larvae come in black and in brown forms and often feed on Epilobium (fireweed).

Hyles lineata, White-lined Sphinx. Highly varied; feed on great diversity of plants: willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), Fuschia. All larvae seem, however, to have the red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Proserpinus flavosfasciata, Yellow-banded Day Sphinx: Penultimate instar pale green with pair of pale, dorsolateral lines running from head to base of short caudal horn. Last instar brown-black with numerous black dots; caudal horn replaced by black button surrounded by whitish band edged with black.




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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