Updated as per personal communication with Cindi Gerard, July 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Anne B. Clark, October 2008
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, October 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Karl A. Wilson, May 26, 2010; June 3, 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Colleen Wolpert, May 27, 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Paula Carman, August 5, 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Karl A. Wilson, (Hyles lineata Vestal, September 15, 2010); June 5, 2012

Broome County, New York


Agrius cingulata, Binghamton, Broome County, New York,
October 15, 2008, courtesy of Anne B. Clark, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Binghamton University

Many thanks to Karl A. Wilson, Cindi Girard, the USGS, Anne B. Clark, Colleen Wolpert and Paula Carman for their contributions of images and data for this page.

Dr. Clark writes of the Agrius cingulata in flight, depicted top of page, "It was amazing...took in the whole line of petunias along the wall, about 25 meters of them. It would overshoot, flap around a parked car and then find its way back to the flowers."

Agrius cingulata is a non-breeding visitor to New York, most often seen in the fall, often assisted in northward flight by strong winds from further south.

Hemaris difffinis, Endwell, Broome County, New York,
Snowberry Clearwing, July 27, 2008, courtesy of Cindi Girard.

Hemaris thysbe, Endwell, Broome County, New York,
Hummingbird Clearwing, July 20, 2008, courtesy of Cindi Girard.

Hemaris thysbe, Endwell, Broome County, New York,
Hummingbird Clearwing, July 20, 2008, courtesy of Cindi Girard.

Cindi Girard writes, "Hi...I'm a friend of Colleen Wolpert's...I'm going to send you a few photos from my garden this summer. I'm now wondering if I had the Slender Clearwing in my garden...I live in Endwell, NY Broome County. Thank you."

Note the variability of the two Hemaris thysbe images above. The lower image shows a reddish cast to the legs and a redder abdomen, both characteristics more typical of the Slender Clearwing, H. gracilis, which Cindi mentions. However, the absence of a red bar on the side of the thorax, and the presence of an irregular inner side of the forewing burgundy outer margin, indicate Hemaris thysbe. Identifications can be tricky.

Another note regarding the distinction between thysbe and gracilis: In H. thysbe, the greenish "fur" of the thorax continues to the sides and meets the thin black line that runs through the eye. In H. gracilis, the greenish "fur" does not extend below the wing juncture with the body. Instead there is a whitish band followed by the characteristic red band along the side of the abdomen.

Forty-six Sphingidae species are listed for New York on the U.S.G.S. website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Broome County (only six are reported on U.S.G.S.: Dolba hyloeus; Ceratomia amyntor; Ceratomia undulosa; Hemaris thysbe; Hemaris diffinis; Darapsa choerilus). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in Broome County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present. A "USGS" indicates the moth is reported on the USGS 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.

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.

Karl A. Wilson (KAW) has sent a sighting of Deidamia inscriptum, 2006, and has sent additional reports of those indicated by (KAW).

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Pink-spotted hawkmoth -- (Agrius cingulata) WO/ABC stray

This moth is a very strong flier, but would only make its way to Broome County as a rare fall stray. There are not too many records from New York state, but records exist for NJ and CT.

Agrius cingulata, Binghamton, October 15, 2008, Anne B. Clark, Ph.D.

Ceratomia amyntor USGS, the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx

This moth is officially recorded in Broome County.

Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia undulosa USGS/KAW 2005, the Waved Sphinx
This moth is recorded in Broome County. I have seen them as far north as P.E.I. in eastern Canada, and took them in New Jersey.
It is named for the wavy lines on the forewings.

Ceratomia undulosa, May 30, June 5, July 17, 2005; May 27, 2006;
June 7, 2007, Endicott, Karl A. Wilson

Dolba hyloeus USGS, the Pawpaw Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is dark brown with a dusting of white scales. Some moths have patches of reddish or yellowish brown on the wings.

Lapara bombycoides WO, the Northern Pine Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is gray with heavy black bands. The upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings. The underside is very plain. Larvae of this small hawk moth feed on pines.

Lintneria eremitus WO, the Hermit Sphinx. The upperside of the forewing is gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or two small white spots near the center of the costa. The upperside of the hindwing is black with two white bands and a triangular black patch at the base. Note the golden hair on the thorax.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth. The moth abdomen usually has five but sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. The upperside of the forewing is blurry brown and gray. The upperside of the hindwing is banded with brown and white and has two well-separated median zigzag bands.

Manduca sexta WO, the Carolina Sphinx

This species is not recorded in Broome County. If you grow tomatoes, however, you have probably encountered it.

Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

Paratrea plebeja WO, the Plebeian Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is gray with indistinct black and white markings. There is a series of black dashes from the base to the tip, and a small white cell spot. North of normal range!

Sphinx canadensis WO, Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it might be present in Ontario County as it is reported from southern Ontario, Canada.

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

Sphinx chersis WO, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx

This species might present but may not be common. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

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

Sphinx gordius WO, Apple Sphinx: Colouration & markings highly variable from one specimen to another. Fw fringes mostly black with some white; those on hw mostly white with a few black patches. Fw upperside ranges from brown with black borders through brownish gray with paler borders to pale gray with no borders. Dashes, submarginal line, & cell spot usually weak.

Sphinx kalmiae WO, 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.

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

This one is reported from Suffolk and Richmond and from northeastern New Jersey and might be present in Broome County.

Sphinx poecila WO, 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, but don't fly too far south of Massachusetts, being replaced by Sphinx gordius in Connecticut. Questionable.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO/KAW, the Walnut Sphinx

This moth is fairly widely reported to the north, east, south and west of Broome County.

This is the first Sphinx species I reared as a boy in New Jersey. See the file for the female; she is different.

Amorpha juglandis, Endicott, May 16, 2010, Karl A. Wilson

Pachysphinx modesta WO/KAW, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
This moth is now recorded in Broome County, and should be found there near poplars and willows.

They are common on Prince Edward Island.

Pachysphinx modesta, June 9, 2007, Karl A. Wilson

Paonias excaecata WO, the Blinded Sphinx

Named for the dull grey-blue spot (minus dark pupil) in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is probably common in Broome County.
I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Paonias myops WO/KAW 1979, the Small-eyed Sphinx

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

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

Paonias myops, July 15, 1979, June 21, 28, 2006, June 3, 2010, Karl A. Wilson
Paonias myops, May 27, 2010, Vestal, Colleen Wolpert

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, the Cerisyi's Sphinx

Broome County would be close to the southern limit for this species in New York. I never saw one in New Jersey. At my home in Montague, P.E.I., Canada, they are quite common.

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO/KAW, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

This moth is widely distributed and fairly common.

Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida. It probably flies (now confirmed) in Broome County.

Smerinthus jamaicensis: Karl A. Wilson: August 16, 2005

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris thysbe USGS/KAW 1979/CG, the Hummingbird Clearwing. This interesting day flier is reported in Broome, and is widely reported to the north, east, south and west. They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida. Note inward projection along inner edge of the forewing outer burgundy band.

Hemaris thysbe, July 28, 1979, Karl A. Wilson
Hemaris thysbe, Endwell, July 20, 2008, Cindy Girard

Hemaris diffinis USGS/CG, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth

This moth is widespread and has been recorded in Broome County and in northwestern N.J. and southeastern N.Y. and Connecticut.

Hemaris diffinis, Endwell, July 27, 2008, Cindy Girard

Hemaris gracilis WO, the Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing

This day-flying moth is less common and has not been recorded in Broome, but has been seen due east, south and west. Note smooth contour of inner edge of the forewing outer burgundy band.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is not reported for Broome, but it is fairly often reported along the coast from southern New Jersey to central Maine. Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

Eumorpha pandorus WO, the Pandorus Sphinx

If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have this species. I often get asked to identify larvae from areas not previously reported.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO/KAW 1980, the Nessus Sphinix

This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you probably have the Nessus Sphinx. It is now reported from Broome County by KAW.
Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on the abdomen.

Amphion floridensis, June 3, 1990, Karl A. Wilson

Cautethia grotei WO, the Grote's Sphinx

This species is rarely recorded in the U.S., but there are sightings in the east from Florida, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
There are no reports from Broome. Very questionable/unlikely!

Darapsa choerilus USGS/KAW 2005, the Azalea Sphinx

They are common in New Jersey and common here on Prince Edward Island.

You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus, especially in older literature.
It is confirmed for Broome County.

Darapsa choerilus, July 15, 1979; June 14, 2005, Karl A. Wilson

Darapsa myron WO/KAW 2005, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
This moth is now recorded by KAW for Broome County
It is widely reported as far north as southern Maine. If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby.

Darapsa myron, July 28, 2005, Karl A. Wilson

Darapsa versicolor WO, the Hydrangea Sphinx

If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have the Hydrangea Sphinx.
It has not been reported in Broome, but likely is present although uncommon.

Deidamia inscriptum KAW 1988, 2005, 2006, 2007, the Lettered Sphinx

This species has been recorded in Broome County and in surrounding areas.

It probably flies earlier in the season than any of the other Sphingidae in Broome County.

Deidamia inscriptum: Karl A. Wilson, Endicott, reports sightings May 3, 1988, April 29, 2006; April 3, 2006, May 9, 2006; May 8, 2007

Hyles gallii WO/KAW/PC, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

The forewing is dark brown with a wide, slightly irregular, cream-coloured transverse line. The outer margin is grey. There is a bright pink band on the hindwing.

Hyles gallii, June 12, 1980, Karl A. Wilson
Hyles gallii, Old Newark Valley Road, Endicott, July 31-early August, Paula Carman.

Hyles lineata WO/KAW, the White-lined Sphinx

This species is not reported from Broome County. It flies across southern New York and has strong migrating tendancies. There are records from New Hampshire and Maine.

Hyles lineata Vestal, September 15, 2010, Karl A. Wilson.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, the Abbott's Sphinx

This moth is very much under reported across the United States. It is a rapid day flier so is probably not in too many collections. Grape is a popular larval host. It is confirmed for Tompkins and now May 9, 2006 for Broome KAW.

Sphecodina abbottii May 9; June 3, 2006; June 6, 2007, Karl A. Wilson.

Broome County Recording Sheets:
Days 1-16 page 1 A. cingulata to S. cerisyi
Days 17-31 page 1 A. cingulata to S. cerisyi
Days 1-16 page 2 H. diffinis to S. abbottii
Days 17-31 page 2 H. diffinis to S. abbottii
Days 1-16 blank
Days 17-31 blank

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