Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Colleen Wolpert, ongoing

Tioga County, New York


Amphion floridensis, Tioga County, New York, courtesy of Colleen Wolpert.

This page is inspired by Colleen Wolpert of Apalachin, Tioga County, New York, who sent me sightings of Lintneria eremitus larva, and adult Amphion floridensis, depicted top and bottom of this page. Colleen also indicates a friend, Bob Pantle, sent her an image of an Hyles gallii larva, also from Tioga county.

Regarding the Nessus Sphinx, Colleen writes, "This was a new one for our yard. Those stripes were neon-like. Amazing."

Pachysphinx modesta, Apalachin, May 28-29, 2011, courtesy of Colleen Wolpert.

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 Tioga County (twelve are reported on U.S.G.S. (now BAMONA): Walnut sphinx (Amorpha juglandis), Waved sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa), Northern pine sphinx (Lapara bombycoides), Five-spotted hawkmoth (Manduca quinquemaculatus), Modest sphinx (Pachysphinx modesta), Blinded sphinx (Paonias excaecata), Small-eyed sphinx (Paonias myops), Twin-spotted sphinx (Smerinthus jamaicensis), Great ash sphinx (Sphinx chersis), Virginia creeper sphinx (Darapsa myron), Lettered sphinx (Deidamia inscriptum) and White-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata)). 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 Tioga 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.

Larval thumbnail checklist available at Tioga County Sphingidae Larvae checklist.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Pink-spotted Hawk Moth -- Agrius cingulata WO stray: This moth is a very strong flier, but would only make its way to Tioga 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, Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx. Fw upperside: brown with dark brown and white markings including a white costal area near wing base, dark streaks along veins, and white spot in cell. Hw upperside: light brown and has dark brown band along outer margin. Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia undulosa USGS/CW, Waved Sphinx: Fw upperside: pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and black-outlined white cell spot. Hw upperside: gray with diffuse darker bands. Some individuals are very dark, almost black, and others are light yellowish brown.

Ceratomia undulosa, Apalachin, June 7, 23, 2011; July 11, 2012, Colleen Wolpert.

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. The underside is very plain. Larvae of this small hawk moth feed on pines.

Lintneria eremitus CW, Hermit Sphinx. Fw upperside: gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or two small white spots near center of costa. Hw upperside: black with two white bands and a triangular black patch at the base. Note the golden hair on the thorax.

Lintneria eremitus larva, September 22; adult moth, August 4, 2013; Apalachin, Colleen Wolpert.

Manduca quinquemaculatus USGS, Five-spotted Hawkmoth. Abdomen usually has five but sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. Fw upperside: 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, Carolina Sphinx. Abdomen usually has six pairs of yellow bands, broken across back. Sixth set quite small. Fw upperside: indistinct black, brown, & white markings. Hw upper banded with black & white, two black zigzag median lines very close together with hardly any white showing between them. Fw fringes spotted with white.

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

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

Sphinx chersis WO, Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx. Fw upperside: soft dark gray to blue-gray with a series of black dashes, one of which reaches the wing tip. The upperside of the hindwing is black with blurry pale gray bands.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx: The costal area in the basal and median areas of the forewing is light grey. This colour also appears in the terminal area. The rest of the wing is dark slatey grey.

Sphinx gordius WO, Apple Sphinx: Colouration & markings highly variable. Fw fringes mostly black with some white; those on hw mostly white with few black patches. Fw upperside ranges from brown with black borders through brownish gray with paler borders to pale gray with no borders. Dashes, submarginal line, & cell spot usually weak.

Sphinx kalmiae WO/CW, 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, Apalachin, July 11, 2012, courtesy of Colleen Wolpert.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx: Fw upperside: yellowish gray in males and pale gray with faint yellow tint in females. In both sexes, dark border on outer margin widens as it approaches inner margin. Hw upperside: deep yellow in males, pale yellow in females; both with a wide black border.

Sphinx poecila WO, the Poecila Sphinx

If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the Poecila Sphinx.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis USGS, the Walnut Sphinx: The adults are 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. Patterns range from faint to pronounced.

Pachysphinx modesta USGS/CW the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx: This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump, and should be found where there are poplars and willows, the larval hosts.

Pachysphinx modesta, Apalachin, May 28-29, 2011, Colleen Wolpert.

Paonias excaecata USGS, 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 Tioga County.
I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Paonias myops USGS, the Small-eyed Sphinx

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

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

Smerinthus cerisyi USGS, the Cerisyi's Sphinx

Tioga 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, 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:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris thysbe WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing

This interesting day flier is reported in Broome, and 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/CW, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth

This moth is widespread and has been recorded in Broome County and in northwestern N.J. and southeastern N.Y. and Connecticut.

Hemaris diffinis, Apalachin, May 16, 2011, Colleen Wolpert

Hemaris gracilis WO, the Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing

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

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is not reported for Broome, 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 CW, Nessus Sphinix. Day-flyer has two bright yellow bands on tufted abdomin. At rest, dark red-brown upperwings hide red-orange median band and yellow spot of hindwings; in some specimens median band may be very pale or almost absent. Concave regions of forewing outer margin also have pale yellow markings in fringe area.

Amphion floridensis, Apalachin, Colleen Wolpert

Darapsa choerilus WO, the Azalea Sphinx

The lower wings of this hawkmoth are a solid brownish-orange, matching the body colour.

Darapsa myron USGS, Virginia Creeper Sphinx or Grapevine Sphinx: Fw upperside: dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with olive tint. Forewing color often quite. On costal margin there is a dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent. Hw upperside is pale orange.

Darapsa versicolor WO, the Hydrangea Sphinx. The forewing upperside is often greenish brown with curved dark lines and pinkish-white patches. The hindwing upperside is pale yellow to reddish brown with white along the costal margin, greenish brown along the outer margin, and white shaded with greenish brown on the inner margin.

Deidamia inscriptum USGS, Lettered Sphinx: The moth's outer margin of the forewing is deeply scalloped. Upperside light brown with dark brown markings. There is small black and white spot near the tip. Hw upperside: orange-brown with a dark brown outer margin and median line.

Hyles gallii WO/CW, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This forewing is dark brown with a slightly irregular cream-coloured transverse line. The outer margin is grey. There is a bright pink band on the hindwing.

Hyles gallii, Apalachin, August 15, 2010; June 4, 2011; Colleen Wolpert

Hyles lineata USGS, White-lined Sphinx
Fw upperside: dark olive brown with paler brown along the costa and outer margin, narrow tan band running from wing tip to base, and white streaks along the veins. The hindwing upperside is black with a reddish pink median band.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, Abbott's Sphinx: Adults mimic bumblebees, making buzzing sound when feeding. Wing margins are scalloped. Fw upperside: dark brown with light brown bands and markings. The upperside of the hindwing is yellow with a wide black outer margin.

Amphion floridensis Tioga County, New York, courtesy of Colleen Wolpert.

Tioga 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.

Use your browser "Back" button to return to the previous page.

This page is brought to you by Bill Oehlke and the WLSS. Pages are on space rented from Bizland. If you would like to become a "Patron of the Sphingidae Site", contact Bill.

Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.

Show appreciation for this site by clicking on flashing butterfly to the left.
The link will take you to a page with links to many insect sites.