Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, April 20, 2009

Coos County, New Hampshire
Sphingidae

Hemaris thysbe, North Stratford (Coos County), New Hampshire,
May 28, 2007, courtesy of Ron White.

Twenty-seven Sphingidae species are listed in the USGS for New Hampshire. Not all of the species are reported (seven by USGS as of August 22, 2007) or anticipated or "considerabled possible" (twenty-six by Bill Oehlke) in Coos County.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Ron White who lives in Lancaster in Coos County, New Hamsphire. Ron sent me the beautiful images (top and bottom of page) of an Hemaris thysbe nectaring at lilacs at his parents' home in North Stratford. He also sent the image (bottom of page) of a Sphinx kalmiae hovering at Catocala bait in Lancaster, N.H.

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 Coos County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be 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 send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Visit Coos County Sphingidae Larvae: Caterpillars; Hornworms

Visit New Hampshire Catocala: Underwing Moths

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. Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

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

Lintneria eremitus WO, the Hermit Sphinx

Forewing upperside is gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or two small white spots near center of the costa. Hindwing upperside is black with two white bands and a triangular black patch at the base. Note the golden hair on the thorax.

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. possibility

Sphinx canadensis WO, Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it might possibly be present in Belknap 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 USGS/RW, the Wild Cherry Sphinx. Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth is at rest. The top third of the forewing in the basal and median areas is grey while most of the rest of the forewing is dark brown.

Sphinx drupiferarum, Jefferson, September 10, 2007, Ron White.

Sphinx gordius WO, the Apple Sphinx

Colouration and markings are highly variable from one specimen to another. The fringes on forewing are mostly black with some white; those on the hindwing are mostly white with a few black patches.

Sphinx kalmiae RW, 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 kalmiae, August 20, 2007, Lancaster, Ron White

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.

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. questionable

Paonias excaecata WO/DL, 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 excaecata, Crawford Notch, July 31, 2004, Deb Lievens

Paonias myops WO, the Small-eyed Sphinx

This species ranges across North America.

The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,

Hindwings aremostly deep maroon with some dark blue-black scaling. 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 WO, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

Smerinthus jamaicensis closely resembles Smerinthus cerisyi, but jamaicensis is much smaller with larger blue patches on more vibrant and deeper purple in the lower wings.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini Tribe:

Visit Hemaris comparison to distinguish the following three species.

Hemaris diffinis WO, 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 it might be present in Coos County. unlikely

Hemaris thysbe RW, the Hummingbird Clearwing

It is not difficult to see why many gardeners would mistake an Hemaris thysbe moth for a small hummingbird as it hovers, sipping nectar from flowers through a long feeding tube.

Hemaris thysbe, North Lancaster, May 28, 2007, North Stratford, Ron White

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

Adults nectar from flowers of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), petunia (Petunia hybrida), mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), and phlox (Phlox). Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx. questionable

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. questionable

Macroglossini Tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO, the Nessus Sphinix

This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you might have the Nessus Sphinx.

Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on the abdomen.

Darapsa choerilus USGS, the Azalea Sphinx.

The lower wings of this hawkmoth are a solid brownish-orange, matching the body colour.

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. The forewing upperside is dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with an olive green tint. On the costal margin there is a dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent. The upperside of the hindwing is pale orange. unlikely.

Darapsa versicolor WO, the Hydrangea Sphinx

If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have the Hydrangea Sphinx.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the Lettered Sphinx

This species has not been recorded in Coos.

It is seen in southern Ontario, however, and in central and southern Wisconsin and might be present.

Hyles gallii USGS, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

The thick, cream-coloured, slightly irregular, diagonal line on the forewing as well as the absence of much thinner "white lines/streaks" distinguish this species from Hyles lineata.

Hyles lineata USGS, 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. questionable

Hemaris thysbe, North Stratford (Coos County), New Hampshire,
May 28, 2007, courtesy of Ron White.

Sphinx kalmiae, Lancaster (Coos County), New Hampshire,
August 21, 2007, courtesy of Ron White.

I was very surprised to receive the Sphinx kalmiae image so late in the season. Ron encountered the moth while checking his Catocala bait trail.

Another surprise (late season) came on September 10, 2007, when Ron photographed this Sphinx drupiferarum on a restaurant wall in Jefferson.

Sphinx drupiferarum, Jefferson (Coos County), New Hampshire,
September 10, 2007, courtesy of Ron White.

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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Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.


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