Inspired by and dedicated to Hugh McGuiness, June 2003
Updated as per personal communication with Bill Rue (Ceratomia amyntor, fifth instar larva on weeping birch); August 12, 2006
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 25, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with JM (Eumorpha pandorus, Smithtown, July 23, 2014); July 23, 2014

Suffolk County


Lapara coniferarum, Long Island, courtesy of Hugh McGuiness.

This page is dedicated to Hugh McGuinness of Sag Harbour who sent me sighting reports in June 3, 2003 and again in May-July 2005.

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 Suffolk County (thirty-three are reported on U.S.G.S.). 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 Suffolk 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.

The USGS website has been replaced by BAMONA, an excellent on line reference/resource. Please also send your sightings to BAMONA.

Many thanks to JM who provides the following image from Smithtown.

Eumorpha pandorus, Smithtown, Suffolk County, New York,
July 23, 2014, courtesy of JM.

Visit Suffolk County Sphingidae Larvae: Caterpillars.

Visit New York Catocala: Underwing Moths

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

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

Ceratomia amyntor USGS, Elm Sphinx, Four-horned Sphinx: Officially recorded in Suffolk. Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia amyntor, fifth instar larva on weeping birch, August 12, 2006, Bill Rue.

Ceratomia catalpae USGS, 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 USGS, Waved Sphinx. 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 forewings.

Dolba hyloeus USGS/HM, Pawpaw Sphinx: Recorded in Suffolk. Widely reported in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Dolba hyloeus, Sag Harbour, July 22, 2011 Hugh McGuiness

Lapara bombycoides USGS, 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 HM/ USGS, Southern Pine Sphinx: Reported from Suffolk, widely reported in New Jersey and along the coast in Connecticut and Masachusetts. If you've got pines, this species is likely present.

Lapara coniferarum Long Island, July 20, 2005 Hugh McGuiness

Lintneria eremitus USGS, the Hermit Sphinx

This species is reported in Suffolk. Generally it is not widely reported.

Manduca jasminearum USGS, Ash Sphinx: This species is officially recorded in Suffolk. It is reported in New Jersey, southeastern New York and Connecticut.

Manduca quinquemaculatus USGS, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Recorded in Suffolk, and it has been seen in nearby counties. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca rustica WO, Rustic Sphinx: 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.

Manduca sexta USGS, 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 USGS, 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, Canadian Sphinx, not common, not often reported anywhere, but might be present in Suffolk County as it is reported from southern Ontario, Canada. Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis USGS, 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 USGS, 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 USGS/HM, Apple Sphinx:

This species is reported in Suffolk. 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 USGS, Canadian Sphinx, Clemen's Sphinx: This one is reported from Suffolk and Richmond and from northeastern New Jersey.

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 Suffolk County. generally more northerly

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis USGS, 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 USGS, Modest Sphinx, 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 USGS/HM, Huckleberry Sphinx: Uncommon species. Recorded for Suffolk, reported for northeastern New Jersey and Connecticut. Rarely seen in Maine. I never saw one in New Jersey.

Paonias astlus, Sag Harbour, July 22, 2011 Hugh McGuiness

Paonias excaecata HM, Blinded Sphinx: Named for dull grey-blue spot (minus dark pupil) in hw; wide distribution. Hugh McGuinness reports it June 3, 2003. They are reported as far south as Florida.

Paonias excaecata, Sag Harbour, July 22, 2011 Hugh McGuiness

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

Paonias myops Sag Harbour, June 15, 2005; July 22, 2011 Hugh McGuiness

Smerinthus cerisyi WO??, Cerisyi's Sphinx: Suffolk 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 USGS, 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 USGS, Hummingbird Clearwing: This interesting day flier is reported in Suffolk, 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.

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

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon USGS, Achemon Sphinx: 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 HM, Banded Sphinx: 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.

Eumorpha pandorus USGS/HM/JM, 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, Sag Harbour, July 22, 2011, Hugh McGuiness
Eumorpha pandorus, Smithtown, July 23, 2014, JM

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis USGS, Nessus Sphinix: This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you probably have the Nessus Sphinx. It is reported from Suffolk. 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 Suffolk. Questionable!

Darapsa choerilus HM, 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 Suffolk, June 3, 2003, by Hugh McGuinness.

Darapsa choerilus (2) Sag Harbour, June 15, 2005; July 22, 2011 Hugh McGuiness (pholus)

Darapsa myron USGS/HM, Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Grapevine Sphinx: Recorded on the U.S.G.S. site for Suffolk County, widely reported as far north as southern Maine. If you have the foodplants indicated in common names, you probably have myron.

Darapsa myron, Sag Harbour, July 22, 2011 Hugh McGuiness

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 Suffolk, but, it has been reported in southeastern New York and northeastern New Jersey. Questionable.

Deidamia inscriptum USGS, the Lettered Sphinx

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

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 Suffolk. Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata USGS, White-lined Sphinx: Reported from Suffolk County. It flies across southern New York and has strong migrating tendancies. There are records from New Hampshire and Maine.

Sphecodina abbottii HM, 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. It is confirmed for Suffolk, June 3, 2003, by Hugh McGuinness.

Xylophanes tersa USGS, the Tersa Sphinx

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

Chenango County Recording Sheets:
Days 1-16 page 1 A. cingulata to S. jamaicensis
Days 17-31 page 1 A. cingulata to S. jamaicensis
Days 1-16 page 2 E. ello to X. tersa
Days 17-31 page 2 E. ello to X. tersa
Days 1-16 blank
Days 17-31 blank

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