Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 18, 2014
Updated as per BAMONA, September 18, 2014

Valencia County, New Mexico
Sphingidae Larvae

Thirty-five Sphingidae species are listed for New Mexico on the BAMONA website as of September 17, 2014. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Valencia County on that website: Manduca quinquemaculatus; Hemaris diffinis.

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

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

I, William Oehlke, have added a number of species whose presence I expect in Valencia 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 Valencia County Sphingidae: Sphinx Moths; Hawkmoths

Visit New Mexico 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, Pink-spotted hawkmoth. Plants in the Convolvulaceae family, especially Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato); in Solanaceae family, especially (Datura) (jimsonweed); related plants. Also a brown form. Look for very large, dark spiracular circles.

Ceratomia amyntor, Elm Sphinx; 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.

Lintneria istar, Istar Sphinx. Larvae feed primarily on mints (Salvia). Larvae can be considerably darker as per the image at top of the page. I think istar, separatus and smithi are all being reassigned to the Lintneria genus.

Lintneria separatus, Separated Sphinx. Salvia greggii has been confirmed as larval host by Robert A. Behrstock. Jim Tuttle, tentative id, writes, "All of the penultimate instars of both Lintneria (Sphinx) istar and Lintneria (Sphinx) separatus that I have reared have been mundane green."

Manduca quinquemaculatus, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth. Tomato Hornworm: black horn at the end of the abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, other plants in nightshade family (Solanaceae). Very beautiful brown form.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Five-spotted Hawkmoth. Tomato Hornworm: black horn at end of 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, Rustic Sphinx. Numerous white nodules on top of thorax; seven pairs of oblique, blue-gray stripes along side of body. Horn white at base, blue-gray at tip. Many hosts are utilized.

Manduca sexta, Carolina Sphinx> Tobacco Hornworms, equipped with red-tipped horn at end of abdomen; true gluttons, feed on tobacco and tomato, and occasionally potato, pepper crops, other plants in nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Sagenosoma elsa, 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, Asella Sphinx. Larval hosts are Manzanita and Arctostaphylos of Ericaceae family. Note purple on both sides of oblique white lines, pale blue horn, brown head, purple feet.

Sphinx chersis, Great Ash Sphinx. Pale bluish green. Head has pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at apex. Larval hosts: ash, lilac, privet, cherry, quaking aspen.

Sphinx dollii, Doll's sphinx. Larval hosts: Alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana), 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.

Sphinx libocedrus, 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. Green and dark forms and all larvae tend to darken just before pupation.

Sphinx vashti, Snowberry Sphinx. Larvae feed on common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and on coralberry (S. orbiculatus). Note two golden lines of slightly raised bumps, one just behind head, other on thorax. questionable

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx occidentalis, Big Poplar Sphinx. Larvae feed on cottonwood and poplar (Populus) and willow (Salix). Larvae are very chunky with little to distinguish them from Pachysphinx modesta.

Paonias excaecata, 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.

Paonias myops, 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.

Smerinthus cerisyi, 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. Green heads bounded dorsally with pale yellow inverted V.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Erinnyis obscura, Obscure Sphinx. Rauvolfia ligustrina, Rauvolfia tetraphylla, Stemmadenia obovata, Philibertia, Cynanchum, papaya (Carica papaya), Asclepiadaceae, Blepharodon mucronatum, White vine (Sarcostemma clausum), Morrenia odorata.

Hemaris diffinis, Snowberry Clearwing; Bumblebee Moth. Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane (Apocynum), dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). Horn black; yellow base. East of Great Divide.

Hemaris thetis. Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, high bush cranberry and hawthorn (Crataegus).

Horn is black with a slightly lighter base. This western species was formerly classified as H. diffinis or H. senta. Those specimens west of the Continental Divide are now classified as H. thetis.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, 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 WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx; 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.

Euproserpinus wiesti, Wiest's Primrose Sphinx: Day flyer over sand washes, prairie blow-outs as single brood from May-June. Prairie primrose (Oenothera latifolia) in evening primrose family (Onagraceae). Captive rearing difficult. Larvae need sunshine, heat, humidity.

Hyles lineata, White-lined Sphinx. Highly varied; feed on 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), Fuschia. All larvae seem, however, to have red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Proserpinus juanita, Juanita Sphinx. (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.

Proserpinus vega, Vega sphinx. Larvae probably feed on (Onagraceae) including evening primrose (Oenothera), gaura (Gaura), and willow weed (Epilobium).

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

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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