Inspired and dedicated as per personal communication with Pat Neyman; August 25, 2014
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America; August 25, 2014
Updated as per BAMONA; August 25, 2014

Douglas County, Nevada
Sphingidae Larvae

Smerinthus ophthalmica, fifth instar, Genoa, Douglas County, Nevada,
August 24, 2014, courtesy of Pat Neyman.

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

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

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Pat Neyman. Pat sent me the image of the Smerinthus ophthalmica larva at the top of this page.

Pat writes, August 25, 2014, "Hi there, I was trying to ID this beautiful hornworm I found on willow near Genoa, NV, Douglas County. It has a distinct stripe that I don't see on any other picture. You have some beautiful pictures! What do you think? Feel free to copy the picture if you like."

I reply, "Pat,

"It is Smerinthus ophthalmica and appears to have either a parasitoid entry or exit would near its hind end. I think that may have shrunk the larva a bit compared to its skin size and accentuated the lateral line on its skin. When I return from my work in the woods, I will create a Douglas County Sphingidae larvae page and will feature the image you have sent. Thanks for thinking of me."

Eighteen Sphingidae species are listed for Nevada on the BAMONA website as of August 25, 2014. Some of them would be adult strays into Nevada. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Douglas County as of August 25, 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 have included many species which I (William Oehlke) 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 report your sightings to BAMONA, and excellent online resource.

Visit Douglas County, Nevada Sphingidae Adult Moths.

Visit Nevada Catocala Underwing Moths.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Manduca quinquemaculatus, 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. See bottom of page.

Manduca quinquemaculatus Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Tomato Hornworms: Black horn at end of abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in nightshade family (Solanaceae). Most larvae are green, but there is also very beautiful brown form to left.

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

Sphinx asellus, Asella sphinx: Larval hosts are Manzanita and Arctostaphylos of the Ericaceae family. Look for a blue horn and strong purple colouration.

Sphinx chersis, Great Ash Sphinx: Pale bluish green. The head has a pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at the apex. Ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx dollii Doll's sphinx: 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 drupiferarum, 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 vashti, Snowberry Sphinx: Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), coralberry (S. orbiculatus). Two golden lines of slightly raised bumps, one just behind head, other on thorax.

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 myops, Small-eyed Sphinx: Wild cherry species are favorites as larval foodplants, but eggs will also be deposited on birches and other forest trees. To left, second/third instar larva rests on pin cherry. "Red heart" marking readily identifies this species. generally more eastern species; possibly

Smerinthus cerisyi, 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. (likely replaced by ophthalmica in Nevada)

Smerinthus ophthalmica WO: Ophthalmica larvae resemble cerisyi larvae, both being pale green, with granular skin, pale lateral diagonal lines, faint red spiracular circles, and very pale longitudinal lines running from head to more pronounced anal diagonal line. Larvae have green heads bounded dorsally with pale yellow inverted "V". Note blue horn.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Hemaris thetis: Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, high bush cranberry, hawthorn (Crataegus). Horn: black with slightly lighter base. Formerly classified as H. diffinis or H. senta. Those species west of Continental Divide are now classified as H. thetis.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, Achemon Sphinx: Larvae feed upon Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), other vines, ivies (Ampelopsis). Both light (green) form and darker (tan/brown) form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines. (doubtful

Macroglossini tribe:

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. Willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), Fuschia. Red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Proserpinus clarkiae, Clark's Sphinx. Larvae feed on elegant fairyfan (Clarkia unguiculata) in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae).

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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This page is brought to you by Bill Oehlke and the WLSS. Pages are on space rented from Bizland. If you would like to become a "Patron of the Sphingidae Site", contact Bill.

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

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