Greene County, New York

Sphingidae

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 Greene County (only one is currently (June 2006) reported on U.S.G.S.: Lapara bombycoides). 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 Greene 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.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata WO stray Pink-spotted Hawkmoth

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

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

This moth is not officially recorded in Greene County.

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

Ceratomia undulosa WO, the Waved Sphinx
This moth is not recorded in Greene 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.

Dolba hyloeus WO, 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 USGS, 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.

Manduca quinquemaculata 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 Greene 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 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 not officially reported in Greene County. We have them on P.E.I., but I do not see them nearly as frequently as I see the other Sphingidae.

Sphinx eremitus WO, the Hermit Sphinx

This species is not reported in Greene County. Generally it is not widely reported.

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 Greene 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 for Greene.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, the Walnut Sphinx

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

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
This moth is not recorded in Greene County.

Larvae feed on poplars and willows.

They are common on Prince Edward Island.

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

Paonias myops WO, the Small-eyed Sphinx

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

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

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, the Cerisyi's Sphinx

Greene 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, 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 in Greene County.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris thysbe WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing

This interesting day flier is not reported in Greene, but is widely reported to the north, east, south and west.
They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.

Hemaris diffinis WO, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth

This moth is widespread but has not been recorded in Greene County although reported in northwestern N.J. and southeastern N.Y. and Connecticut.

Hemaris gracilis WO, the Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing

This day-flying moth is less common and has not been recorded in Greene, but has been seen due east, south and west. Questionable.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is not reported for Greene, 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, the Nessus Sphinix

This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you probably have the Nessus Sphinx.

Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on the abdomen.

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 Greene. Very Questionable!

Darapsa choerilus WO, 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 not yet confirmed for Greene County.

Darapsa myron WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
This moth is not recorded for Greene 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 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 Greene, but likely is present although uncommon.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the Lettered Sphinx

This species has not been recorded in Greene County, but it is likely present.

Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This species is not reported in Greene. I suspect it would be rare.
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata WO, the White-lined Sphinx

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

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




Greene 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

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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