Nova Scotia, Canada
Sphingidae Larvae

Lapara bombycoides fifth instar larva by Bill Oehlke.

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.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Chris Majka who provided me with some additional Sphingidae records for Nova Scotia, June 2010.

Eumorpha pandorus final instar, black form, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia,
August 30, 2010, courtesy of Pippa, Chris and Thomas Moss.

I was surprised to see the Eumorpha pandorus larva from Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, as I felt the sporadic reports from that province were only of adult strays. Pippa confirms that the grape vine upon whichi it wasfeedig "is well established, being there for over two decades. The vine it came from was in Nova Scotia even before that. We have no new vines purchased this year but did have a new honeysuckle near it, from a local nursery.

"The pictures were taken on the 30th Aug. 2010, at about 3:45 p.m. It proceeded to eat the whole vine leaf and was still there when we left for work the following morning, but had gone when my husband came home that night at about 8 p.m."

The date of the larva find suggest a mid to late July flight time for adult E. pandorus in Nova Scotia.

Eumorpha pandorus final instar on Virginia Creeper, Canning, Nova Scotia,
August 26, 2017, courtesy of Krista Melville.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor possibly just in southern N. S., the 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.

Ceratomia undulosa common, the Waved Sphinx

Fraxinus, Ligustrum, Quercus, Crataegus and Chionanthus virginicus are listed as hosts.

In the fifth instar, the spiracular ovals are decidedly red and the anal horn is off-white to pinkish laterally.

Lapara bombycoides abundant, the Northern Pine Sphinx

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

Manduca quinquemaculatus common, 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).

Sphinx canadensis present, Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it is present and is reported from southern Ontario. I believe they are present in Nova Scotia.

Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis possibly just in southern regions, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx

This species is present and is probably common. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen. Note pale blue horn.

Sphinx drupiferarum abundant, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

This species is officially reported in Ontario. We have them on P.E.I., but I do not see them nearly as frequently as I see the other Sphingidae.

Sphinx kalmiae present, 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. Anal horn is blue with extensive black markings in final instar.

Sphinx luscitiosa present, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx

This one is reported from Ontario, but it is generally not common. I suspect it is in Nova Scotia.

Sphinx poecila abundant, the Poecila Sphinx

If you have blueberries in the woods, then you might have the Poecila Sphinx.

They are pretty common here on Prince Edward Island.

Larvae can be purple or green.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis, 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 common, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx

Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood.

Paonias excaecata common, the Blinded Sphinx

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

Paonias myops present, the Small-eyed Sphinx

Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is probably common in Ontario.

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

Smerinthus cerisyi common, the Cerisyi's Sphinx
Smerinthus cerisyi is found in the southern regions of all Canadian provinces and in northern border states. The one-eyed sphinx is also found along the U.S. west coast, eastward to the Rockies. At my home in Montague, P.E.I., Canada, they are quite common.

Smerinthus jamaicensis present, 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 common, 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. generally more eastern species

Hemaris diffinis common, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Larval host plants include Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane (Apocynum) and dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). Horn is black with a yellow base.

Hemaris gracilis present, the Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing

This day-flying moth is less common.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha pandorus, 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 and nearly black forms also.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis common, 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 common, the 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.

Hyles gallii present, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This species is reported in Ontario.

Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Larvae can be quite variable.

Hyles lineata, 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 flavofasciata present, the Yellow-banded Day Sphinx

This day flier is officially reported from Ontario, but it maynot be common. Look for them in meadows near coniferous forests.




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