Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Paul Cuciti (Sphinx chersis, Stockholm, August 6, 2013); August 20, 2013
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 20, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA, August 20, 2013

Sussex County, New Jersey
Sphingidae


Sphinx chersis fifth instar, Stockholm, Sussex County, New Jersey,
August 6, 2013, courtesy of Paul Cuciti, id 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 Paul Cuciti (Sussex County), New Jersey. Paul has sent the Sphinx chersis larval image at top of this page.

Paul writes, "Hi, I found this crossing my driveway in Sussex county, NJ last week. Best I can tell, it's in the sphinx family. A Google search led me to your site. Hope you can narrow it down and you can use the pix. Thanks.."

I reply, "Hi Paul,
"I am pretty sure it is Sphinx chersis.
"Larva image via the link at http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/njSussexsph.htm
"I wish permission to post image (credited to you) on a larval thumbnail page I will create for Sussex County??
"Bill Oehlke
"Can you remember the date?"

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

Forty-five Sphingidae species are listed for New Jersey on the BAMONA website (Forty-six as of August 6, 2014). Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Sussex County (ten, Lapara bombycoides, Pachysphinx modesta, Paonias excaecata, Paonias myops, Smerinthus jamaicensis, Sphinx chersis, Sphinx gordius, Amphion floridensis, Hemaris thysbe, Hyles gallii are reported on BAMONA as of August 20, 2013). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the caterpillars you are likely to encounter.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I (William Oehlke) expect that this species is 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.

Visit Sussex County Sphingidae Adults: Hawkmoths; Sphinx Moths

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

Ceratomia amyntor WO, the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx
Caterpillars show both brown and green forms and are unmistakeable due to four horns on the thorax (near the head).
Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia catalpae WO, the Catalpa Sphinx

This caterpillar is one of the few North American Sphingidae that feed in large groups. Colouration is distinctive.

The larvae are much more spectacular than the moths. Catalpa is the larval host.

Ceratomia undulosa WO, the Waved Sphinx

Note the pinkish-orange tail, spiracles outlined in red and the cream stripes on the head.
The dramatic color change from the dorsal yellow-green to the lateral light greyish-blue is not always as intense as in this image.

Dolba hyloeus WO, the Pawpaw Sphinx

Note the smooth skin, blue-black horn and small black spiracles.
Pawpaw is the primary host. Littleleaf sweetfern, possum haw, inkberry, tall gallberry holly and others are also utilized.

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

Lapara coniferarum WO, the Southern 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 WO, the Hermit Sphinx

Note triangular bump on the thorax.
Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis), and sage (Salvia).

Manduca jasminearum WO, the Ash Sphinx

Larvae feed on ash in the Fraxinus genus. Syringa and Ulmus have also been reported.

Note the black anal horn.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Note the solid black horn and dark spiracular rings. In addition to the white oblique lines, there are fainter white rings, especially on the back. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca rustica WO, the Rustic Sphinx

Note the green horn, raised white bumps and strong dark lines anterior to the white ones. unlikely in larva stage

Manduca sexta WO, the Carolina Sphinx

Note the red horn and black dots anterior to the white oblique lines.

If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it.

Paratrea plebeja WO, the Plebeian Sphinx
Larvae feed at night, hiding on the underside of stems during the day. Preferred hosts are common trumpetcreeper (Campsis radicans), Florida yellow-trumpet (Tecoma stans), lilac (Syringa species), and passionflower (Passiflora species). Questionable

Sphinx chersis PC/BAMONA, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx
Note pale blue horn and the creamy-white stripes on head. The yellow form has a red horn. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry and quaking aspen.

Sphinx chersis, Stockholm, August 6, 2013, Paul Cuciti.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the 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 franckii WO, Franck's Sphinx Moth

Larvae feed exclusively on various species of ash (Fraxinus).
Raised, pointed bumps, especially near the head and thorax give this caterpillar a reptilian appearance. maybe

Sphinx gordius BAMONA, the 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 WO, 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 WO, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx. Generally a more northerly species, but might be present.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, the 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 BAMONA, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
It is fond of poplars and willows.

Paonias astylus WO, the Huckleberry Sphinx

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

Paonias excaecata BAMONA, the Blinded Sphinx

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

Paonias myops BAMONA, the 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 WO?? generally more northerly, 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 BAMONA, the 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 comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris thysbe BAMONA, the 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.

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

Hemaris gracilis WO, 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. unlikely

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the 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 WO, the 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.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis BAMONA, the 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 WO, 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 WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby. The lower wings are orange. Larvae feed on Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, and Viburnum.

Darapsa versicolor WO, the Hydrangea Sphinx
Larvae feed on Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and waterwillow (Decodon verticillatus).
Note small head which can be retracted into the thorax.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the Lettered Sphinx
Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) all serve as larval hosts.
The alternating yellow and greyish-green rings across the back distinguish this larva.

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

Hyles gallii BAMONA, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx
Larvae come in black and in brown forms and often feed on Epilobium (fireweed).

Sphecodina abbottii WO, the Abbott's Sphinx
Larvae feed at night on grape (Vitis) and ampelopsis (Ampelopsis) and hide on the bark of their host plants during the day. Virginia creeper would also be a suitable host.
There is also a dark form without the green patches. Note the "raised eye", replacing the anal horn.

Xylophanes tersa WO, Tersa Sphinx. Borreria, Catalpa, Manettia spp., Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), starclusters (Pentas species). Recorded on joe-pie weed, Hamelia patens, on Hedoydis nigricans. Green form may be more common. Possibly just in northen NJ counties as stray adults.

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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