Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Dawn Singh, (Paonias myops, Sandoval County, July 24, 2014); July 24, 2014
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 24, 2014
Updated as per BAMONA; July 24, 2014

Sandoval County, New Mexico
Sphingidae

Paonias myops male, Sandoval County, New Mexico,
July 24, 2014, courtesy of Dawn Singh.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Dawn Singh who captured the image of the Paonias myops male, top of the page.

Dawn writes, "This beauty is sitting outside my front door on the stucco exterior of my house. We are at 6,500 feet elevation. From what Iíve read, they are not uncommon, but I have never seen one here in northern New Mexico. We have a very diverse garden and many hummingbird moths, swallowtail caterpillars, lizards and the like.

"Our temps at this time of year are in the mid to upper í90ís. We have about 9-10 inches of precip per year and are currently in our monsoon season. We received about 2Ē of rain in the last two weeks, but do not receive daily storms as we used to due to climate change. Humidity is normally under 10% but during this season, itís in the í40-50% range."

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

Thirty-five Sphingidae species are listed for New Mexico on the BAMONA website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Sandoval County (eleven species are reported on BAMONA as of July 24, 2014). Many species have limited ranges in the southern or eastern parts of the state and would not be expected in Sandoval County.

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

A "BAMONA" indicates the moth is reported on the BAMONA website and/or in Lepidoptera of North America, #1. Distribution of Silkmoths (Saturniidae) and Hawkmoths (Sphingidae) of Eastern North America, an excellent little booklet available through Paul Opler.

I, William Oehlke (WO), have added a number of species whose presence I expect in Sandoval County.

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.

Visit Sandoval County Sphingidae: Adult Moths

Visit New Mexico Catocala: Underwing Moths.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, WO Pink-spotted hawkmoth: Larvae feed on plants in the Convolvulaceae family, especially Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato) and in the Solanaceae family, especially (Datura) (jimsonweed) and related plants in the Americas. There is also a brown form. Look for very large, dark spiracular circles.

Ceratomia amyntor WO, Elm Sphinx or 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.

Manduca quinquemaculatus BAMONA, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: The caterpillars are called Tomato Hornworms and each has a black horn at the end of the abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). There is also a very beautiful brown form. See bottom of page.

Manduca quinquemaculatus BAMONA, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth: The caterpillars are called Tomato Hornworms and each has a black horn at the end of the abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). There is also a very beautiful brown form to the left.

Manduca rustica WO, the Rustic Sphinx: The caterpillar has numerous white nodules on top of the thorax and seven pairs of oblique, blue-gray stripes along the side of the body. The horn is white at the base and blue-gray at the tip. Many hosts are utilized.

Manduca sexta BAMONA, the Carolina Sphinx

Tobacco Hornworms, equipped with a red-tipped horn at the end of the abdomen, are true gluttons and feed on tobacco and tomato, and occasionally potato and pepper crops and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Sagenosoma elsa WO, the Elsa Sphinx

Larval hosts are unknown, but larvae probably feed on Lycium in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Note the strong oblique black lines and the black anal horn.

Sphinx asellus WO, the Asella Sphinx

Larval hosts are Manzanita and Arctostaphylos of the Ericaceae family.

Note the purple on both sides of the oblique white lines, the pale blue horn, brown head and purple feet.

Sphinx chersis WO, the Great Ash Sphinx: The larvae are pale bluish green. The head has a pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at the apex. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx dollii WO, the Doll's sphinx: Larval hosts are Alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana) and other juniper species.

It is amazing to me how well the larval spiracular patches and false feet match the pattern and colour of the juniper bark.possibly

Sphinx libocedrus WO, Incense Cedar Sphinx: Larvae feed on New Mexican forestiera (Forestiera neomexicana), on Forestiera angustifolia and on little leaf ash (Fraxinus gooddingii) in the Oleaceae family. There are green and dark forms and all larvae tend to darkenjust before pupation.

Sphinx perelegans USGS, Elegant Sphinx; Unique feature: shield on first thoracic segment, which is of same colour as body and which forms tight-fitting hood over vertex of head, hiding pair of glossy black spots on top of head, which are revealed if animal is disturbed.

Sphinx vashti WO, the Snowberry Sphinx: Larvae feed on the common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and on coralberry (S. orbiculatus).

Note the two golden lines of slightly raised bumps, one just behind the head, the other on the thorax.

generally more northerly

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx

Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood.

Pachysphinx occidentalis WO, the Big Poplar Sphinx

Larvae feed on cottonwood and poplar (Populus) and willow (Salix). I suspect this species is the more likely of the two Pachysphinx to fly in McKinley County.

Larvae are very chunky with little to distinguish them from Pachysphinx modesta.

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.

Larval skin is rough and grainy. generally more eastern species

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.

To the left a second/third instar larva rests on pin cherry. The "red heart" marking readily identifies this species. generally more eastern species; possibly

Smerinthus cerisyi BAMONA, Cerisy's Sphinx; Greatly resemble modesta larvae, 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. Larvae have 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:

Erinnyis ello WO, the Ello Sphinx

Larvae feed on papaya (Carica papaya), Cnidoscolus angustidens, poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), guava (Psidium species) and saffron plum (Bumelia angustifolia/Bumelia celastrina). Manilkara bahamensis, Willow Bustic (Bumelia salicifolia) and Painted Leaf (Poinsettia heterophylla) are also hosts.
Nice socks! Larvae show considerable variation.

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

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.

Macroglossini tribe:

Darapsa myron BAMONA, 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.

Hyles lineata BAMONA, the 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.

Proserpinus juanita WO, the Juanita Sphinx

Larvae feed on (Onagraceae) including evening primrose (Oenothera), gaura (Gaura), and willow weed (Epilobium).

Early instars are green and lack the dark sharply contrasting spiracular circles and other patterning. possibly, generally more westerly species

Xylophanes tersa WO, the Tersa Sphinx

Larvae also feed on Borreria, Catalpa and Manettia spp. and Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra) and starclusters (Pentas species). They are also recorded on joe-pie weed and Hamelia patens and on Hedoydis nigricans. The green form may be more common.

Many of the Sphingidae larvae are highly variable within the species. Most darken considerably just before pupation, especially before the onset of cooler weather.

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

Enjoy one of nature's wonderments: Live Saturniidae (Giant Silkmoth) cocoons.