Inspired by and dedicated to Amanda Jeannopoulos (Amphion floridensis, Brooklyn, July 6, 2012); July 7, 2012
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 7, 2012
Updated as per BAMONA, July 7, 2012

Kings County


Amphion floridensis, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York,
July 6, 2012, courtesy of Amanda Jeannopoulos.

This page is dedicated to Amanda Jeannopoulos of Brooklyn who sent me the Amphion floridensis sighting data and image at top of this page.

Amanda writes,

"I came across your site in trying to identify a flying visitor in my garden. I first saw it a few weeks ago and again today. I am in Brooklyn, NY. Do you think it's the Hemaris diffinis?
"It was moving fast and hovering as it checked out my plants."

I reply,

"Hi Amanda,
"It is one of the Sphingidae, same family as Hemaris diffinis, but it is not that species. It is Amphion floridensis the Nessus Sphinx.
"I wish permission to post at least one of your images, credited to you, to a webpage??
"Thanks for thinking of me. Nice photos."

Forty-six Sphingidae species are listed for New York on the U.S.G.S. (now BAMONA) website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Kings County (ten are reported on BAMONA). 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 Kings County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present. A "USGS" indicates the moth is reported on the BAMONA 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.

Please also forward your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent on-line resource.

Hyles gallii Bedstraw hawkmoth Xylophanes tersa Tersa sphinx

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

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

This moth is a very strong flier, but would only make its way to Suffolk 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 officially recorded in Suffolk.

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

Ceratomia catalpae WO, the Catalpa Sphinx

This is generally a more southerly species, but it has been recorded in Suffolk. I saw them in great numbers in New Jersey.

The larvae feed in large groups and are much more spectacular than the moths.
Catalpa is the larval host.

Ceratomia undulosa WO, the Waved Sphinx

This moth is recorded in Suffolk. 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 BAMONA, the Pawpaw Sphinx

This moth is recorded in Suffolk. It is widely reported in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Lapara bombycoides WO, the Northern Pine Sphinx

This moth is reported from Suffolk, and it is reported to the north, west and south. If you have pines, you probably have this species. It flies on P.E.I.

Lapara coniferarum BAMONA, the Southern Pine Sphinx

This moth is reported from Suffolk, and it is widely reported in New Jersey and along the coast in Connecticut and Masachusetts. If you've got pines, this species is likely present.

Lintneria eremitus WO, the Hermit Sphinx

Generally it is not widely reported.

Manduca jasminearum WO, the Ash Sphinx

This species is officially recorded in Suffolk.

It is reported in New Jersey, southeastern New York and Connecticut.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

This species is not recorded in Kings, but it has been seen in nearby counties. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca rustica WO, the Rustic Sphinx

This species is not recorded in Suffolk, but it has been taken in several counties in northeastern New Jersey. I would not be surprised to get a report. Look for three large yellow spots on each side of the abdomen. Questionable.

Manduca sexta BAMONA, the Carolina Sphinx

This species is recorded in Suffolk. If you grow tomatoes, 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.

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

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

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

This species is 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 Suffolk. 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, the Apple Sphinx

This species is not reported in Kings. Generally it is widely reported in neighbouring counties.

Note the pm line, absent in Sphinx poecila which flies more to the north.

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.

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. It has not been confirmed in Monroe County. questionable, generally more northerly

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, the Walnut Sphinx

This moth is fairly widely reported to the north, west and south of as well as in Suffolk.

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 BAMONA, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
This moth is recorded in Suffolk County. It is fond of poplars and willows.

They are common on Prince Edward Island.

Paonias astylus WO, the Huckleberry Sphinx

This appears to be an uncommon species. It has been recorded for Suffolk, and it is reported for northeastern New Jersey and Connecticut.
Only rarely are they seen in Maine. I never saw one in New Jersey.

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 Suffolk County. Hugh McGuinness reports it June 3, 2003. 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 Kings County.

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

Smerinthus jamaicensis BAMONA, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

This moth is widely distributed and fairly common.

Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Erinnyis ello USGS, the Ello Sphinx

This species is reported in Suffolk where it makes an appearance as a stray.
Males and females differ.

Hemaris thysbe BAMONA, the Hummingbird Clearwing

This interesting day flier is reported in Kings, and is widely reported to the north, east and south.
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 and has been recorded in Suffolk and Richmond and 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 Kings, but has been seen in northeastern N.J. and southeastern N.Y. Questionable.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is reported for Suffolk, and 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 fasciatus WO, the Banded Sphinx

The moth is a strong flier and occasionally moths and larvae turn up as rare strays in northern communities.

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 AJ/ BAMONA, the Nessus Sphinix

This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you probably have the Nessus Sphinx. It is probably common in Kings County.
Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on the abdomen.

Amphion floridensis, Brooklyn, July 6, 2012, Amanda Jeannopoulos

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.

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.

Darapsa myron WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
This moth is recorded on the U.S.G.S. site for Suffolk 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 Suffolk, but, it has been reported in southeastern New York and northeastern New Jersey. Questionable.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the Lettered Sphinx

This species has been recorded in Suffolk and in surrounding areas.

Hyles gallii BAMONA, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This species is reported in Kings.
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 Kings County. It flies across southern New York and has strong migrating tendancies. It should be present. 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 host.

Xylophanes tersa BAMONA, the Tersa Sphinx

This moth is much more common to the south. it is a strong migrant, however, and may establish itself in Kings County.

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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