Created/updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 13, 2011
Updated/dedicated as per personal comunication with Susan Stephenson (Slippery Rock, September 20, 2012); September 20, 2012
Updated as per BAMONA, September 20, 2012

Butler County, Southwestern Pennsylvania
Sphingidae

Eumorpha pandorus Slippery Rock, Butler County, Pennsylvania,
September 20, 2012, courtesy Susan Stephenson.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information/sightings are welcomed by Bill.

This page is dedicated to Susan Stephenson who provides the beautiful image of Eumorpha pandorus at the top of the page. Susan writes, "I discovered on my sun porch this AM. We're in Slippery Rock, PA (western pa 60mi n of pgh.). My neighbor does have a grape vine. The temp outside is 54.9. Google Goggles made ID a snap. What should I do with/for it?"

"It was probably attracted to an outside night light. It is harmless. It might fly away on its own, or it might get picked off by a bird if you leave it be. Best to move it to the woods by hand or in a lidded cup if you do not wish to use hands. Thanks for thinking of me. This is quite late in the season to see a live adult Eumorpha pandorus in Butler County, PA."

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 (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be present.

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 excellent on-line resource.

Those species files by BAMONA indicate the species has already (as of September 20, 2012) been confirmed in Butler County.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, Pink-spotted hawkmoth, stray. 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
The upperside of the forewing 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.
Caterpillars feed gregariously on Catalpa species (Catalpa bignoniodes and C. speciosa).

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. The upperside of the hindwing is gray with diffuse darker bands.

Dolba hyloeus, 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, 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.

Lapara coniferarum, the Southern Pine Sphinx

The upperside is of the forewing is gray with two (sometimes one or three) black dashes near the wing center; other markings are usually diffuse. The upperside of the hindwing is a uniform brown-gray. doubtful, more southeasterly in PA

Lintneria eremitus, the Hermit Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing is gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or two small white spots near the center of the costa.
Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis) and sage (Salvia).

Manduca jasminearum, BAMONA, the Ash Sphinx

The upperside of forewing is gray to grayish brown with a black line running from the middle of the costa to the middle of the outer margin; the line may be broken near the margin. There is a splash of brown around the cell spot.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth
The moth abdomen usually has five but sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. The upperside of the forewing is blurry brown and gray. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca rustica, possible stray from further south, the Rustic Sphinx. The abdomen of the adult moth has three pairs of yellow spots. The upperside of the forewing is yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown with a dusting of white scales and zigzagged black and white lines. possible stray

Manduca sexta , the 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.

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, the Northern Ash Sphinx or 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. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth is at rest. Larvae are beautiful and feed on cherry foliage.

Sphinx franckii, Franck's Sphinx Moth

This species is not widely reported anywhere.
Similar to S. kalmiae but lacks the dark bar along the fw inner margin. questionable, northern range border

Sphinx gordius, BAMONA, the Apple Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing ranges from brown with black borders through brownish gray with paler borders to pale gray with no borders. Dashes, submarginal line, and cell spot are usually weak.

Sphinx kalmiae, 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 luscitiosa possibility, but generally more northerly, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing is yellowish gray in males and pale gray with a faint yellow tint in females. In both sexes, the dark border on the outer margin widens as it approaches the inner margin.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis, 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. Patterns range from faint to pronounced.

Pachysphinx modesta, BAMONA, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx

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

Larvae are fond of poplars and willows.

Paonias astylus, the Huckleberry Sphinx

This appears to be an uncommon species. The outer margin of the forewing is nearly straight.

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

Paonias myops, BAMONA, the Small-eyed Sphinx

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

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

Smerinthus jamaicensis, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

This moth is widely distributed and fairly common.

Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.

Smerinthus cerisyi possibility, but generally more northerly, the Cerisyi's Sphinx

At my home in Montague, P.E.I., Canada, they are quite common. I expect they might also be present in Allegheny County, but that would be a southern range border in PA.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

Aellopos clavipes, the Aellopos Sphinx. The body is dark brown with a wide white band across the abdomen. Wings are dark brown. The forewing has a black cell spot and 3 white spots near the pale brown marginal area. Note absence of white scales near hindwing anal angle. possible rare stray

Aellopos titan, 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. probably misidentification, more likely rare clavipes or fadus or tantalus stray

Erinnyis ello, the Ello Sphinx: Abdomen: very distinct gray and black bands. Female's fw upperside: pale gray with few dark dots near outer margin. Male's fw upperside: dark gray and brown with a black band running from base to tip. Hw upper is orange with wide black border. adult stray

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris thysbe, BAMONA, 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.

Hemaris diffinis, BAMONA, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable, both geographically and seasonally. The thorax is golden-brown to dark greenish-brown. The abdomen tends to be dark (black) with 1-2 yellow segments just before the terminal end.

Hemaris gracilis, the Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing
Hemaris gracilis is distinguished from similar species by a pair of red-brown bands on the undersides of the thorax, which varies from green to yellow-green dorsally and sometimes brown with white underneath. They have a red abdomen.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, the Achemon Sphinx

Adults nectar from flowers of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), petunia (Petunia hybrida), mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), and phlox (Phlox).
If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have this species.

Eumorpha pandorus (SS/BAMONA), the Pandorus Sphinx

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

Eumorpha pandorus, Slippery Rock, September 20, 2012, Susan Stephenson

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis, BAMONA, the Nessus Sphinix

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

Darapsa choerilus, the Azalea Sphinx

They are common in Pennsylvania and common here on Prince Edward Island.

You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus, especially in older literature. Hindwings are the same colour as the abdomen.

Darapsa myron, BAMONA, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx. The forewing upperside is 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. The upperside of the hindwing is pale orange.

Darapsa versicolor, the Hydrangea Sphinx

If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have the Hydrangea Sphinx. If it is present, it probably is not common.

Deidamia inscriptum, the Lettered Sphinx

This small species flies in the early spring.

Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) all serve as larval hosts.

Hyles gallii, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

generally further north, southern range limit in PA

Hyles lineata, BAMONA, the White-lined Sphinx

The forewing upperside is dark olive brown with paler brown along the costa and outer margin, a narrow tan band running from the wing tip to the base, and white streaks along the veins.

Sphecodina abbottii, BAMONA, the Abbott's Sphinx

This moth is 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, the Tersa Sphinx

This moth is much more common to the south. It is a strong migrant, however. likely as a stray from further south or east

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.

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