Inspired by and dedicated to Jeremy Laratro, September 16, 2013
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 16, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA, September 16, 2013

Nassau County

Sphingidae

Eumorpha pandorus, Long Beach, Nassau County, New York,
September 16, 2013, courtesy of Jeremy Laratro.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Jeremy Laratro who sent me the image of Eumorpha pandorus, above.

Jeremy writes, "I just found this guy outside (in Long Beach) and I thought it was a little late so I figured I'd show you."

I reply, "Thanks, Jeremy,

"Yes, it is a little late. This one may have been assisted by strong winds from further south, although I do expect tehre are pandours in the area, and, if there is a warm fall, a mid September flight might produce offspring that could feed into mid to late October and still pupate before the really cold weather sets in."

Forty-six Sphingidae species are listed for New York on the BAMONA. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Nassau County (eleven are reported on BAMONA as of September 16, 2013). 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 Nassau County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present. A "BAMONA" 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 send your sightings to BAMONA, an escellent online resource.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Pink-spotted hawkmoth -- (Agrius cingulata) BAMONA stray: Very strong flier, would only make its way to Nassau as rare stray. Not too many records from New York state, but records exist for NJ and CT.

Ceratomia amyntor WO, Elm Sphinx, Four-horned Sphinx: not Officially recorded in Nassau. Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia catalpae BAMONA, Catalpa Sphinx: This is generally a more southerly species, but it has been recorded in Nassau. 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, Waved Sphinx: not recorded in Nassau. I have seen them as far north as P.E.I. in eastern Canada, and took them in New Jersey. Named for the wavy lines on the forewings.

Dolba hyloeus WO, Pawpaw Sphinx: Widely reported in New Jersey and Connecticut, probably in Nassau.

Lapara bombycoides BAMONA, Northern Pine Sphinx: This moth is reported from Nassau. If you have pines, you probably have this species. It flies on P.E.I.

Lapara coniferarum WO, Southern Pine Sphinx: Not reported from Nassau, but 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

This species is not officially reported in Nassau. Generally it is not widely reported.

Manduca jasminearum WO, Ash Sphinx: This species is not officially recorded in Nassau. It is reported in New Jersey, southeastern New York and Connecticut.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Not recorded in Nassau, but it has been seen in nearby counties. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca rustica WO?, Rustic Sphinx: Not recorded in Nassau, 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, 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, Plebeian Sphinx: Fw 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, Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it might be present in Nassau County as it is reported from southern Ontario, Canada. Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis BAMONA, Northern Ash Sphinx, 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, Wild Cherry Sphinx: This species is not officially reported in Nassau. We have them on P.E.I., but I do not see them nearly as frequently as I see the other Sphingidae.

Sphinx gordius BAMONA, Apple Sphinx:

This species is reported in Nassau. 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, Laurel Sphinx: Lower fws predominantly brownish-yellow with fairly wide dark bar along inner margin. At rest wings hug body, giving the moth long slender look.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, Canadian Sphinx, Clemen's Sphinx: This one is reported from Suffolk and Richmond and from northeastern New Jersey. Should be in Nassau.

Sphinx poecila WO, Poecila Sphinx: If you have blueberries, you might have Poecila Sphinx. Pretty common here on Prince Edward Island. It has not been confirmed in Nassau County. generally more northerly

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, 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 WO, Modest Sphinx, Poplar Sphinx: This moth is not officially recorded in Nassau County. It is fond of poplars and willows. They are common on Prince Edward Island.

Paonias astylus WO?, Huckleberry Sphinx: This appears to be an uncommon species. It has not been recorded for Nassau, but 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, Blinded Sphinx: Named for dull grey-blue spot (minus dark pupil) in hw; wide distribution, probably common in Nassau County. I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island; they are reported as far south as Florida.

Paonias myops WO, Small-eyed Sphinx: Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is probably common in Nassau County. I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO??, Cerisyi's Sphinx: Nassau 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, 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 WO?, the Ello Sphinx

Possible stray.
Males and females differ.

Hemaris thysbe BAMONA, Hummingbird Clearwing: This interesting day flier is reported in Nassau, and is widely reported to the north, east and south. Widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.

Hemaris diffinis WO, Snowberry Clearwing: This moth is widespread and has been recorded in Suffolk and Richmond and in northwestern N.J. and southeastern N.Y. and Connecticut. Should be in Nassau.

Hemaris gracilis WO, Slender Clearwing, Graceful Clearwing: This day-flying moth is less common and has not been recorded in Nassau, but has been seen in northeastern N.J. and southeastern N.Y. Questionable.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon BAMONA, Achemon Sphinx: This moth is reported for Nassau, 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??, Banded Sphinx: Officially reported for Suffolk, and Hugh McGuinness reports a larva find. The moth is a strong flier and occasionally moths and larvae turn up as rare strays in northern communities. Might be in Nassau.

Eumorpha pandorus JL, 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.

Eumorpha pandorus, Long Beach, September 16, 2013, Jeremy Laratro.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis BAMONA, Nessus Sphinix: This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you probably have the Nessus Sphinx. It is reported from Nassau. Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on the abdomen.

Cautethia grotei WO, 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 Nassau. Questionable!

Darapsa choerilus BAMONA, 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 Nassau.

Darapsa myron WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Grapevine Sphinx: Widely reported as far north as southern Maine. If you have the foodplants indicated in common names, you probably have myron.

Darapsa versicolor WO, Hydrangea Sphinx: If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have the Hydrangea Sphinx. It has not been reported in Nassau, 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. Should be in Nassau.

Hyles gallii WO, Bedstraw Hawk Moth, Gallium Sphinx: Reported in Richmond, but no further south in the east. I suspect it would be rare, if ever present, in Nassau. Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata WO, White-lined Sphinx: Not officially reported from Nassau County, but should be present. It flies across southern New York and has strong migrating tendancies. There are records from New Hampshire and Maine.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, Abbott's Sphinx: 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 Nassau.




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