Created dedicated as per personal communication with Steve Daniel, 2005
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, May, 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Tracy Korzenieski (Pachysphinx modesta, Hamlin, June 3, 2012); June 4, 2012

Monroe County, New York

Agrius cingulata, Monroe County, August 29, 2005, courtesy of Steve Daniel.

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 Monroe County (none are reported on U.S.G.S., now 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 Monroe County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be 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.

Please also send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

This page is inspired by Steve Daniel of Monroe County, New York, who sent me sightings of Ceratomia undulosa, Paonias myops, Smerinthus jamaicensis, Hemaris diffinis, Hemaris thysbe, Eumorpha pandorus, Darapsa myron and Deidamia inscripta. Steve also indicates he has seen one or both of the Manduca species listed.

For 2006, Steve reports a sighting of a lettered Sphinx on April 30 and sends the image of the Abbottt's Sphinx at the bottom of the page, May 8.

Just after setting up this page and dedicating it to Steve, he encountered a rather rare stray, Agrius cingulata, in his backyard. I wonder if Hurricane Katrina had something to do with the appearance of this species. Sometimes strong winds out of the south aid the northerly migration of some Sphingidae species.

Many thanks to Tracy J. Korzenieski of Hamlin who provides the following image and data. The specimen was discovered by her son Joseph.

Pachysphinx modesta, Hamlin, Monroe County, New York,
June 3, 2012, discovered by Joseph Korzenieski, forwarded by T. J. Korzenieski.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata SD, Pink-spotted Hawkmoth stray

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

Agrius cingulata, August 29, 2005, Steve Daniel

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

The upperside of the forewing is brown with dark brown and white markings including a white costal area near the wing base, dark streaks along the veins, and a white spot in the cell.

Ceratomia undulosa SD/ USGS, the Waved Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot. The upperside of the hindwing is gray with diffuse darker bands.

Ceratomia undulosa, 6/6/04, Steve Daniel

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 WO, the Northern Pine Sphinx

This moth is not reported from Monroe, but it is reported to the north, east, south and west. If you have pines, you probably have this species. It flies on P.E.I.

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.

Manduca quinquemaculatus SD/ 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. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca sexta SD/ WO, the Carolina Sphinx
The abdomen usually has six pairs of yellow bands, broken across the back. The sixth set of markings is quite small. The upperside of the forewing has indistinct black, brown, and white markings. If you grow tomatoes, however, you may have encountered it as it has been found in western N.Y.

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 WO, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx

This species is probably 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 Monroe. 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 Monroe. Generally it is widely reported in neighbouring counties.

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

Sphinx kalmiae WO/SD, 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 kalmiae, June 1, 2006, Pittsford, Steve Daniel

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

This one is not reported from Monroe County, but it has been seen to the southeast. It is generally not common. possibility

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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, the Walnut Sphinx

The adults are also highly variable; sometimes wings of an individual may be all one color or may have several colors, ranging from pale to dark brown, and may have a white or pink tinge. See the file for the female; she is different.

Pachysphinx modesta WO/SD/JK, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
This moth is now recorded in Monroe County by Steve Daniel. It is fond of poplars and willows.

They are common on Prince Edward Island.

Pachysphinx modesta, May 31, 2006, Pittsford, Steve Daniel
Pachysphinx modesta, May 21, 2009, Pittsford, Steve Daniel
Pachysphinx modesta, June 3, 2012, Joseph Korzenieski, via T. J. Korzenieski

Paonias excaecata WO/SD, 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 Monroe County.
I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Paonias excaecata, July 17, 2008, 3:00 am, Steve Daniel

Paonias myops SD/ 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 Monroe County.

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

Paonias myops, 6/8/2004, Steve Daniel
Paonias myops, May 31, 2006, Pittsford, Steve Daniel
Paonias myops, May 23, 2007, Pittsford, Steve Daniel
Paonias myops, May 21, 2009, Pittsford, Steve Daniel

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, 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 SD/ 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. I suspect it is present.

Smerinthus jamaicensis, June 9, 2004, Steve Daniel
Smerinthus jamaicensis May 25; June 7, 2006, Steve Daniel

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris thysbe SD/WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing

It is not difficult to see why many gardeners would mistake an Hemaris thysbe moth for a small hummingbird as it hovers, sipping nectar from flowers through a long feeding tube.

Hemaris thysbe, 8/8/02, Steve Daniel

Hemaris diffinis SD/ WO, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to dark greenish-brown with 1-2 yellow segments on the abdomen.

Hemaris diffinis, 6/7/05, Steve Daniel

Hemaris gracilis WO, the Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing

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

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is not reported for Monroe, 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 SD/ 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. Confirmed by Steve Daniel.

Eumorpha pandorus, larva, 1979, Steve Daniel
Eumorpha pandorus, adult, July 27, 2006, Steve Daniel

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO/SD, the Nessus Sphinix

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

Amphion floridensis, Honeoye Falls, Monroe County, June 2, Steve Daniel
Amphion floridensis, Powder Mill Park, Town of Perinton, June 15, Steve Daniel
Amphion floridensis Auburn trail, northern Ontario city, June 1, Steve Daniel

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 confirmed for Monroe, but likely is present.

Darapsa myron SD/WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
This moth is not recorded on the U.S.G.S. site for Monroe County, but is confirmed by Steve Daniel.
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 12, 2004 Steve Daniel
Darapsa myron, May 29, 2006, Steve Daniel
Darapsa myron (2), May 31; June 7, 2006, Pittsford, Steve Daniel

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 Monroe, but is likely there.

Deidamia inscriptum SD/ WO, the Lettered Sphinx

This species has now been recorded in Monroe, courtesy of Steve Daniel.

Larvae feed on grape foliage and on Virginia Creeper.

Deidamia inscriptum 30 April 2006, 27 May 2005, Steve Daniel
Deidamia inscriptum, May 22, 2007, Pittsford, Steve Daniel

Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This species is not reported in Monroe, but I suspect it is there.

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 Monroe County. It flies across southern New York and has strong migrating tendancies. There are records from New Hampshire and Maine.

Sphecodina abbottii WO/SD, 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 now confirmed for Monroe, by Steve Daniel.

Sphecodina abbottii, May 8, 2006; May 14, 2007, Steve Daniel.
Sphecodina abbottii, May 29, 2009, Pittsford, Steve Daniel.

Sphecodina abbottii May 8, 2006, Monroe County, courtesy of Steve Daniel.

Monroe 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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