Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Kevin P., (Agrius cingulata), October 19, 2010
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, October 19, 2010
Updated as per James Butterflies and Moths of North America, formerly USGS, October 19, 2010
Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Lee Gosset (Ceratomia undulosa; Eumorpha achemon), September 10, 2012
Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Alicia White (Eumorpha achemon), August 31, 2016

Oklahoma County, Oklahoma

Agrius cingulata, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma,
October 18, 2010, courtesy of Kevin P.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Kevin P. who sent me the image of Agrius cingulata at the top of the page.

Kevin writes, "First and foremost, you have a very interesting and informative website. I think (with the help of a friend of mine at Stanford and your website) that a species I observed might be Hyles lineata, but I'm not sure.

"The story: I live in Oklahoma City. I've got flowering vines right off of my front porch, where there is a porch light and landscape lights. Tonight, at approx 11:00pm, I observed a large moth (thought it was a hummingbird at first) fluttering around the vines. So I snapped some pictures. I attached one, only because the image files are so big. If you'd like to see more, I'll send what I have.

"Is this, in fact, a white lined sphinx moth? Let me know what you think."

Kevin has the correct family of moths: Sphingidae, and both the White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata) and Agrius cingulata have pinkish hindwings, but this one is the Pink-spotted Hawkmoth, Agrius cingulata.

As far as I know, larvae of this species have not been recorded in Oklahoma, so the moth would be an adult stray from further south where winters are not quite so cold. I have seen larvae from Dallas area of northeastern Texas, but that is about as far north as they are found in south central US.

The adult Sphingidae are very strong fliers, and most of them nectar from flowers open at night. They also tend to be attracted to lights. Some of the strays from further south are most likely to be seen in the fall, and there northward flights may be aided by hurricane or strong winds from the south.

Thirty-seven Sphingidae species are listed for Oklahoma on the USGS checklist. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Oklahoma County (four on USGS as of october 19, 2010).

It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you have encountered.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in Oklahoma 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 Moths of Western North America, #2. Distribution of Sphingidae of Western North America, revised, 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 image, via email to Bill Oehlke.

Many thanks to Lee Gosset who confirms Ceratomia undulosa and Eumorpha achemon in Oklahoma County.

Ceratomia undulosa, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma,
September 10, 2012, courtesy of Lee Gosset.

Eumorpha achemon, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma,
May 27, 2011, courtesy of Lee Gosset.

Many thanks to Alicia White who provides the following image of Eumorpha achemon.

Eumorpha achemon. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,
August 30, 2016, courtesy of Alicia White.

Visit Oklahoma County Sphingidae larvae Checklist.

Visit Oklahoma Catocala, Underwing Moths.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

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

Agrius cingulata, Oklahoma City, October 18, 2010, Kevin P.

Ceratomia amyntor WO, the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx. 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 WO, generally more easterly, 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 undulosa WO/LG, Waved Sphinx. Forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot.

Ceratomia undulosa, Oklahoma City, September 10, 2012, courtesy of Lee Gosset.

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

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

Manduca sexta USGS, 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, you have probably encountered it.

Paratrea plebeja WO, Plebeian Sphinx. 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 USGS, Northern Ash Sphinx/ Great Ash Sphinx. Forewing is soft dark gray to blue-gray with a series of black dashes, one of which reaches the wing tip. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

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

Sphinx vashti USGS, Snowberry Sphinx

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 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, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx. This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump.

Paonias excaecata WO, generally more easterly, 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 WO, generally more easterly, 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 WO, 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.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe

Aellopos titan WO, unlikely, Titan Sphinx. Body: dark brown with wide white stripe across abdomen. Wings: 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 WO, unlikely , the 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 in Pottawatomie County as a very rare stray.

Erinnyis ello, the Ello Sphinx, WO, 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, WO, 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 WO, Snowberry Clearwing/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 WO/LG/AW, Achemon Sphinx. Adults nectar from flowers of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), petunia (Petunia hybrida), mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), and phlox (Phlox). Larvae feed upon Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), other vines, ivies (Ampelopsis).

Eumorpha achemon, Oklahoma City, May 27, 2011, courtesy of Lee Gosset.
Eumorpha achemon, Oklahoma City, August 30, 2016, courtesy of Alicia White.

Eumorpha fasciatus CG, the Banded Sphinx. This moth is a very strong flier and is often reported far north of its normal range.
It would be a rare stray to Pottawatomie (Shawnee, August 31, 2005)

Eumorpha pandorus WO, 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 WO, 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 WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx/Grapevine Sphinx. Forewing: dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with an olive tint. On costal margin there is dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent. Hw upperside is pale orange.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the 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.

Hyles lineata USGS, 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.

Proserpinus juanita WO, 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, the Tersa Sphinx. The upperside of the forewing is 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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