Ocean County, New Jersey
Sphingidae


Darapsa pholus by Bill Oehlke

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information/sightings are welcomed by Bill.

The page is inspired by and dedicated to of Lumberton (Burlington County), New Jersey. Ned has sent me extensive species sightings for Ocean County.

Forty-six Sphingidae species are listed for New Jersey on the BAMONA website as of August 6, 2014. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Ocean County.

Twenty-two species, Agrius cingulata, Ceratomia amyntor, Ceratomia catalpae, Dolba hyloeus, Lapara bombycoides, L. coniferarum, Manduca quinquemaculata, M. rustica, M. sexta, Pachysphinx modesta, Paonias astylus, P. excaecata, P. myops, Paratraea plebeja, Sphinx drupiferarum, S. gordius, S. kalmiae, Darapsa choerilus, Eumorpha pandorus, Hemaris gracilis, Hyles lineata, Xylophanes tersa, are reported on BAMONA as of August 6, 2014).

It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the caterpillars you are likely to encounter.

I (William Oehlke) have added many species not listed by BAMONA which I expect are present or might be present, although unreported.

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 forward you sightings to BAMONA, an excellent on-line resource.

A "NH" indicates the moth is reported by Ned Hood.

Visit Ocean County Sphingidae Larvae: Caterpillars; Hornworms

Visit New Jersey 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:

Agrius cingulata NH, Pink-spotted Hawkmoth stray. 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 NH/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 NH/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.

Ceratomia undulosa NH, 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.

Dolba hyloeus NH/BAMONA,, the Pawpaw Sphinx. The upperside of the forewing is dark brown with a dusting of white scales. Some moths have patches of reddish or yellowish brown on the wings.

Lapara bombycoides NH/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.

Lapara coniferarum BAMONA, the Southern Pine Sphinx. The upperside is of the forewing is gray with two (sometimes one or three) black dashes near the wing center; other markings are usually diffuse.

Lintneria eremitus NH, 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 jasminearum NH, the Ash Sphinx. The upperside of forewing is gray to grayish brown with a black line running from the middle of the costa to the middle of the outer margin; the line may be broken near the margin. There is a splash of brown around the cell spot.

Manduca quinquemaculatus NH/BAMONA, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth. The moth abdomen usually has five but sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. The upperside of the forewing is blurry brown and gray.

Manduca rustica NH/BAMONA, the Rustic Sphinx. The abdomen of the adult moth has three pairs of yellow spots. The upperside of the forewing is yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown with a dusting of white scales and zigzagged black and white lines.

Manduca sexta NH/BAMONA,, the Carolina Sphinx. The abdomen usually has six pairs of yellow bands, broken across the back. The sixth set of markings is quite small. The upperside of the forewing has indistinct black, brown, and white markings.

Paratrea plebeja NHBAMONA, 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 chersis NH, 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 NHBAMONA, the Wild Cherry Sphinx,

Sphinx drupiferarum larvae hide in the day and feed primarily on cherry, plum, and apple at night.

Sphinx franckii USGS, Franck's Sphinx Moth,

The outer margins of the forewings are slightly concave in the male, but not in the female. The costal half of the forewings are grey, but the posterior portion is a distinctive warm yellowish-brown; the boundary between these two areas is marked with a series of dark diagonal streaks.

Sphinx gordius NH/BAMONA, the Apple Sphinx.

The upperside of the forewing ranges from brown with black borders through brownish gray with paler borders to pale gray with no borders. Dashes, submarginal line, and cell spot are usually weak.

Sphinx kalmiae NHBAMONA, 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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis NH, 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. Larvae are fond of poplars and willows.

Paonias astylus NH/BAMONA, the Huckleberry Sphinx. This appears to be an uncommon species.

Blueberry and huckleberry (Vaccinium), cherries (Prunus) and willows (Salix) are the favorites as larval foodplants.

Paonias excaecata NH/BAMONA, the Blinded Sphinx. Named for the dull grey-blue spot (minus dark pupil) in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is common in Burlington County. I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Paonias myops NHBAMONA, the Small-eyed Sphinx. Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is common in Burlington County.

I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Smerinthus jamaicensis NH/USGS, the Twin-spotted Sphinx. This moth is widely distributed and fairly common. Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris thysbe NH, 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 diffinis NH, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth. Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to dark greenish-brown.

Hemaris gracilis NH/BAMONA, the Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing. Hemaris gracilis is distinguished from similar species by a pair of red-brown bands on the undersides of the thorax, which varies from green to yellow-green dorsally and sometimes brown with white underneath. They have a red abdomen.

Hemaris gracilis Tony McBride

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon NH, 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.

Eumorpha fasciatus Bug Guide, stray from further south into Monmouth County, Banded Sphinx. Dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has lighter brown band along costa, sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. Primrose-willow, Ludwigia (water primrose), other plants in the evening primrose family.

Eumorpha pandorus NH/USGS, the Pandorus Sphinx. If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have this species.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis NH, the Nessus Sphinix. This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you probably have the Nessus Sphinx. It is reported from Burlington.
Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on the abdomen.

Darapsa choerilus NHBAMONA, 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.
They are probably common in Burlington County.

Darapsa myron NH/, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx. The forewing upperside is dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with an olive tint. This species was quite common in rural New Jersey where the forewing color contained more green than described above.

Darapsa versicolor NH, the Hydrangea Sphinx. The forewing upperside is often greenish brown (photo to right) with curved dark lines and pinkish-white patches.

Deidamia inscriptum NH, 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 lineata NHBAMONA, the White-lined Sphinx. The forewing upperside is dark olive brown with paler brown along the costa and outer margin, a narrow tan band running from the wing tip to the base, and white streaks along the veins.

Sphecodina abbottii NH, the Abbott's Sphinx. This moth is very much under reported across the United States. It is a rapid day flier so is probably not in too many collections.

Grape is a popular larval host.

Xylophanes tersa NH, the Tersa Sphinx. The upperside of the forewing is pale brown with lavender-gray at the base and has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout. The upperside of the hindwing is dark brown with a band of whitish, wedge-shaped marks.




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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