Created/dedicated as per personal communication from Chris Henderson via Valerie Cunningham, August 15, 2017
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 15, 2017
Updated as per Butterflies and Moths of North America, formerly USGS, August 15, 2017

Clarion County, and
other north western Pennsylvania Counties

Sphingidae

Smerinthus jamaicensis male, East Brady, Clarion County, Pennsylvania,
July 10, 2017, courtesy of Chris Henderson, via Valerie Cunningham.

This page is inspried by and dedicated to Chris Henderson and Valerie Cunningham. Chris photographed the Smerinthus jamaicensis image at the top of this page, and valerie forwarded the image to me.

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

Fifty Sphingidae species are listed for Pennsylvania on the BAMONA website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Clarion County (no Sphingidae species are reported for your county on BAMONA as of August 15, 2017). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the adult Sphingidae moths you might encounter.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I (William Oehlke) expect that this species is present or might be present.

Although this page contains documentation records for Clarion County only, it also serves as a checklist for the nearby counties of Venango, Jefferson, Armstrong and Lawrence, A "BAMONA" indicates the moth is reported on the BAMONA 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.

Please also forward your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Visit Sphingidae of the Americas: Hawk Moths
Visit Sphingidae of Pennsylvania: Adult Hawk Moths; Pictoral Checklist
Visit Pennsylvania Catocala: Underwing Moths; Pictoral Checklist.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor, The Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx, WO,
Fw upperside: brown with dark brown and white markings including white costal area near wing base, dark streaks along veins, and white spot in cell.
Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia catalpae WO?? generally more southerly, 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 WO, 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 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 WO, 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 WO??, generally more south easterly, Southern Pine Sphinx
Fw upperside: gray with two (sometimes one or three) black dashes near wing center; other markings are usually diffuse. Hw upperside: uniform brown-gray. doubtful, more southeasterly in PA

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

Manduca jasminearum WO??, generally more south easterly, 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. unlikely, northern range border

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Abdomen usually has five but sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. Fw upperside: blurry brown and gray. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca sexta WO, 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 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.

Sphinx chersis WO, Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx
Fw upperside: soft dark gray to blue-gray with series of black dashes, one of which reaches wing tip. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, 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 gordius WO, 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 WO, 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 WO, 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 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. Patterns range from faint to pronounced.

Pachysphinx modesta WO, 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 WO?? generally more southerly, the Huckleberry Sphinx

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

Paonias excaecata WO, 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 WO, 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 CH, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

This moth is widely distributed and fairly common.

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

S. jamaicensis, East Brady, July 10, 2017, Chris Henderson via Val Cunningham

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, 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 Beaver County, but that would be a southern range border in PA.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Erinnyis ello WO, Ello Sphinx: Abdomen: very distinct gray and black bands. Female's fw upperside: pale gray with few dark dots near o. m.. Male's fw upperside: dark gray and brown with black band running from base to tip. Hw upper: orange with wide black border. present as non-breeding adult stray

Hemaris thysbe WO, 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 WO, 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 WO, 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 WO, 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 WO, the Pandorus Sphinx

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

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO, the Nessus Sphinix
Widely distributed day flier. 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 WO, 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 WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx or Grapevine Sphinx
Fw upperside: 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: pale orange.

Darapsa versicolor WO, 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 WO, 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 WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

Probably only in northern Pennsylvania.

Hyles lineata WO, 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 WO, 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 WO?? generally more southeasterly, 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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