Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Jessica L. Townsend, (Sphinx drupiferarum), April 27, 2011
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, April 27, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Jessica L. Townsend, (Sphinx drupiferarum), April 15, 2013, opngoing

Grady County, Oklahoma

Sphinx drupiferarum, courtesy of Tim Dyson.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Jessica L. Townsend who sent me a "phone" image of Sphinx drupiferarum from Grady County, near Cement, Caddo County, Oklahoma, April 26, 2010.

Jessica writes, "I believe I found one of these today but they are not common for my area. Any idea if these have appeared much in Oklahoma? This is the only sphinx I’ve found that resembles the one I found. Its markings are almost identical and the white antennae and smoky white streaks really helped with identification"

I reply, "My Oklahoma Sphingidae page is at

"There are thumbnail checklists for many counties. I do not know your county so I cannot direct you further.

"There are several Oklahoma species that are similar to Wild Cherry Sphinx so I would have to see a good digital image to make a determination.

"Thanks for thinking of me."

Jessica replies and sends a cell phone image, "My phone is pitiful at taking pictures. This is the best I can do at the moment. You can see the ‘waves’ at the bottom of the wings and the smoky lines running angularly down as well. The thorax has only 3 very distinct spots. Sorry for the lousy photo. I might be able to take better ones tonight when I can get him home and have a better look at him. If you have any thoughts in the meantime, I would appreciate them. I read these are fairly uncommon so it would be thrilling to know I had found one. I am kind of on the edge between Grady and Caddo counties, Oklahoma."

I was able to confirm Jessica's identification from the image that she sent. Sphinx drupiferaurm, in Oklahoma, is known from the northwestern 3/4 of the state.

Many thanks to Jessica for confirming Sphinx drupiferarum in Grady County. Jessica also reports "Darapsa myron, Hyles lineata (have one sitting next to me at my desk at the moment (4/27/2011) actually. Just trying to get him out of the rain!), and at least three Smerinthus jamaicensis."

Deidamia inscriptum female, Grady County, Oklahoma,
April 15, 2013, courtesy of Jessica Townsend, slight digital repair by Bill Oehlke.

Note the very plump, egg-laden, abdomen of the female above.

Thirty-seven Sphingidae species were listed for Oklahoma on the old USGS website. Not all of the species were reported or anticipated in Grady County.

It is hoped that this speculative checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you have encountered or are likely to encounter. I have consulted the range maps in James P. Tuttle's excellent book, The Hawk Moths of North America, to assemble this listing.

Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an image, via email to Bill Oehlke Contact Information.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata. This species is a strong migrant and adults nectar from deep-throated flowers including moonflower (Calonyction aculeatum), morning glory (Convolvulus), honey suckle (Lonicera) and petunia (Petunia species).

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

Ceratomia catalpae, the Catalpa Sphinx. Fw upperside is yellowish brown with no white markings, but there are indistinct black lines and dashes. The cell spot is gray with a black outline and the upperside of the hindwing is yellowish brown with obscure lines. Larvae feed in large groups and are much more spectacular than the moths.
Catalpa is the larval host.

Ceratomia hageni JLT, Hagen's Sphinx or Osage Orange Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is gray with a green tint and has dark indistinct wavy lines, and pale gray patches at the wing tip and along the costa.

Ceratomia hageni, Grady County, near Cement, Caddo County, June 5, 2011, Jessica L. Townsend.

Ceratomia undulosa, 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.

Lintneria eremitoides , the Sage Sphinx. Look for two thin black dashes across a slightly darker median patch in an otherwise distinct, light median area. possibility

Manduca quinquemaculatus, JLT, Five-spotted Hawkmoth. Abdomen usually has five but sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. Fw upperside is blurry brown and gray. Larvae feed on tomatoes and go by the common name of "Tomato Hornworms".

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Grady County, near Cement, Caddo County, May 20, 2011, Jessica L. Townsend.

Manduca rustica JLT, Rustic Sphinx. Look for three large yellow spots on each side of the abdomen. The upperside of the forewing is yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown with a dusting of white scales and zigzagged black and white lines.

Manduca rustica, Grady County, near Cement, Caddo County, June 21, 2011, Jessica L. Townsend.

Manduca sexta, the Carolina Sphinx JLT
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, you have probably encountered it.

Manduca sexta, Grady County, near Cement, Caddo County, June 5, 2011, Jessica L. Townsend.

Paratrea plebeja, 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 chersis, Northern Ash Sphinx/Great Ash Sphinx. The upperside of the forewing is soft dark gray to blue-gray with a series of black dashes, one of which reaches the wing tip. Ash, lilac, privet, cherry, quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum JLT, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

Sphinx drupiferarum larvae hide in the day and feed primarily on cherry, plum, and apple at night.

Sphinx drupiferarum, Grady County, near Cement, Caddo County, April 26, 2011, Jessica L. Townsend.

Sphinx vashti, the Snowberry Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing has a narrow black subterminal line bordered by a white inverted V-shaped line on the outside, and a black line running inwards from the apex of the wing.
It is most often found in montane woodlands and along streamcourses.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis, the Walnut Sphinx JLT

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.

Amorpha juglandis, Grady County, near Cement, Caddo County, June 5, 2011, Jessica L. Townsend.

Pachysphinx modesta, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,

This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump.

Paonias excaecata, the Blinded Sphinx

The grey-blue eyespot of the hindwing gives this species its name. Larvae feed on birches, willows, cherries and oaks.

The outer edge of the forewings is quite scalloped.

Paonias myops, the Small-eyed Sphinx

This small species is probably widespread and common. This species ranges across North America.

The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.

Smerinthus jamaicensis, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

Smerinthus jamaicensis closely resembles Smerinthus cerisyi, but jamaicensis is much smaller with larger blue patches on more vibrant and deeper purple in the lower wings.

Smerinthus jamaicensis, Grady County, Jessica L. Townsend

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe

Aellopos titan unlikely, the Titan Sphinx.

The body is dark brown with a wide white stripe across the abdomen. The wings are dark brown. It is very similar to above species, but the upperside of the hindwing has pale patches along the costa and inner margin. very rare stray

Erinnyis domingonis unlikely , Dominican Sphinx. This moth flies in Haiti and Jamaica south to Paraguay and Bolivia with occasional sightings in Texas and Arizona. This species might be present as a very rare stray.

Erinnyis ello, Ello Sphinx, unlikely. The abdomen has very distinct gray and black bands. Adults nectar at dusk so you may see them in the garen at that time, but only as very rare strays.

Erinnyis obscura, the Obscure Sphinx, unlikely

During the night adults nectar at flowers, including bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) and Asystasia gangetica beginning at dusk.
July and August are flight times in the southern states. very rare strays

Hemaris diffinis, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to dark greenish-brown. The abdomen tends to be dark (black) with 1-2 yellow segments just before the end.

Hemaris thysbe WO, generally more easterly, 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.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, Achemon Sphinx. Adults nectar from flowers of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), petunia (Petunia hybrida), mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), and phlox (Phlox). Larvae: Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), other vines, ivies (Ampelopsis).

Eumorpha fasciatus, the Banded Sphinx

This moth is a very strong flier and is often reported far north of its normal range.

Eumorpha pandorus, the Pandorus Sphinx

If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have this species.

Eumorpha vitis WO, possible stray from further south, the Vine Sphinx

The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. The hindwing has a pink patch on the inner margin.

Macroglossini tribe

Amphion floridensis, the Nessus Sphinix

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

Darapsa choerilus WO, generally more easterly, the Azalea Sphinx

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

You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus, especially in older literature.

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

Darapsa myron, Grady County, Jessica L. Townsend

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

Deidamia inscriptum, Grady County, April 15, 2013, Jessica Townsend

Hyles lineata, the White-lined Sphinx

This species is very widespread. It can be seen flying during the day, into the evening and also at night.
The highly variable larvae are often found in people's gardens.

Hyles lineata, Grady County, April 27, 2011, Jessica L. Townsend

Proserpinus juanita, the Juanita Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is pale gray-green with a deep green-brown median area and a white dash at the wing tip. The underside of the forewing is pale orange at the base.

Xylophanes tersa WO, generally more easterly, Tersa Sphinx. Fw upperside: pale brown with lavender-gray at the base and has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout. The upperside of the hindwing is dark brown with a band of whitish, wedge-shaped marks.

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