Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, November 18, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Amy Dohmen, November 18, 2011
Updated as per BAMONA, November 18, 2011

Douglas County, eastern Nebraska
Sphingidae

Hyles lineata, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska,
November 17, 2011, courtesy of Amy Dohmen.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Amy Dohmen who sent me the image of Hyles lineata at the top of the page. Amy found the larva of this moth, and then provided for its pupation and subsequent emergence as an adult moth.

Thirty-seven Sphingidae species are listed on BAMONA for Nebraska as of November 18, 2011. Not all of the species are reported (Fifteen are reported by BAMONA as of November 18, 2011) or anticipated in Douglas County in central eastern Nebraska.

It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the caterpillars you have encountered.

A WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in your county, but I (William Oehlke) expect that these moths are 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 also forward your results to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Visit Nebraska Catocala (Underwing Moths). 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:

Agrius cingulata, BAMONA, Pink-spotted hawkmoth, fall migrant: This species is a strong migrant and adults nectar from deep-throated flowers including moonflower (Calonyction aculeatum), morning glory (Convolvulus), honey suckle (Lonicera) and petunia (Petunia species).

Ceratomia amyntor BAMONA, 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 catalpae BAMONA, the Catalpa Sphinx

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.
Catalpa is the larval host.

Ceratomia hageni WO, Hagen's Sphinx or Osage Orange Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is gray with a green tint and has dark indistinct wavy lines, and pale gray patches at the wing tip and along the costa.

Ceratomia undulosa BAMONA, 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.

Lintneria 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.

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.

Manduca sexta WO, the Carolina Sphinx

The upperside of the hindwing is banded with black and white and has two black zigzag median lines that are very close together with hardly any white showing between them
Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

Paratrea plebeja BAMONA, the Plebeian Sphinx

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.

Sphinx canadensis WO, Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it might possibly be present in Linn 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

Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth is at rest. We have them on P.E.I., but I do not see them nearly as frequently as I see the other Sphingidae.

vashti

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.
See the file for the female; she is different.

Pachysphinx modesta BAMONA, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,

This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump.

Paonias excaecata BAMONA, 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.

Paonias myops, July 11, 16-17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 31; August 1, 2010, Tom Jantscher

Smerinthus jamaicensis BAMONA, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

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

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

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini Tribe:

Aellopos titan possible stray, the Titan Sphinx.

The body is dark brown with a wide white stripe across the abdomen. The wings are dark brown. The upperside of the hindwing has pale patches along the costa and inner margin. John has seen them nectaring on his butterfly bush in September of 2005 and 2006.

ello obscura

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next two species.

Hemaris diffinis BAMONA, 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 thysbe WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing

This interesting day flier is not confirmed for Marshall.

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

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon BAMONA, the Achemon Sphinx

I suspect it is present. It is fairly often reported along the east coast from southern New Jersey to central Maine.
Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

Eumorpha pandorus BAMONA, 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 myron <BAMONA, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
It is widely reported as far north as southern Maine. If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby.

Deidamia inscriptum BAMONA, the Lettered Sphinx

The moth's outer margin of the forewing is deeply scalloped. The upperside is light brown with dark brown markings. There is a small black and white spot near the tip. The upperside of the hindwing is orange-brown with a dark brown outer margin and median line.

Hyles gallii WO, possibly, but generally more northwesterly, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata AD/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.

Hyles lineata, November 17, 2011, Omaha, Amy Dohmen.

Proserpinus juanita

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.

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