Clarendon County


This page is dedicated to Ryan Taylor who has provided much of the sighting information for Clarendon County.

Forty Sphingidae species are listed for South Carolina on the U.S.G.S. website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Clarendon (only two are reported on U.S.G.S.) in central eastern South Carolina. 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 Clarendon, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present. An * indicates the moth is reported 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.

An "RT" after a species name indicates this species is confirmed for Clarendon County by Ryan Taylor. Many thanks to Ryan for his help with this page.

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.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata stray, The Pink-spotted Hawkmoth

This moth is a strong flier with strong migration tendencies and is frequently encountered out of its more normal southerly range, although it may breed in South Carolina.

Ceratomia catalpae RT, the Catalpa Sphinx

If you have catalpa trees nearby, you are likely to encounter this sphinx. I saw them in great numbers in New Jersey.

The larvae feed in large groups and are much more spectacular than the moths.
Catalpa is the larval host.

Ceratomia undulosa WO, the Waved Sphinx

This moth is not officially recorded in Clarendon, but it has been observed to the north, west and south. I even see this one on Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada.
It is named for the wavy lines on the forewings.

Dolba hyloeus WO, the Pawpaw Sphinx

This moth is not officially recorded in Clarendon, but it has been taken to the north, west and south.
Larve are not limited to pawpaw.

Lapara coniferarum RT, the Southern Pine Sphinx

This species is widely distributed in South Carolina.

If you've got pines, this species is likely present.

Manduca jasminearum WO, the Ash sphinx

Although ash is the popular larval foodplant, lilac and elm are also used.

This species seems more common along the coast from Connecticut to Florida.

Manduca quinquemaculata WO the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

This species is not officially recorded in Clarendon, but I suspect if you grow tomatoes you have encountered it. Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

Manduca rustica RT, Rustic sphinx

This species has forewings patterned much like Dolba hyloeus, but Manduca rustica is much larger and more likely to be spotted in Clarendon.
Moonflowers and petunias are favourite nectar sources.

Manduca sexta RT, the Carolina Sphinx

If you grow tomatoes you have probably encountered this species. They come readily to lights.

Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

Paratrea plebeja WO, Plebeian Sphinx

Although not officially reported in Clarendon County, I feel it is likely present.

It flies both to the north and south in South Carolina. It could easily be confused with Ceratomia catalpae.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis RT, the Walnut Sphinx

This is the first Sphinx species I reared as a boy in New Jersey. See the file for the female; she is different.
larvae feed upon Walnut and butternut (Juglans), hickory (Carya), alder (Alnus), beech (Fagus), hazelnut (Corylus), and hop-hornbeam (Ostrya).

Paonias excaecata RT, the Blinded Sphinx

Named for the dull grey-blue spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is probably in Clarendon.

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

Paonias myops RT, the Small-eyed Sphinx

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

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

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

This moth is widely distributed and fairly common so I suspect it is in Clarendon, even though not recorded as such.

It has been recorded in nearby S.C. counties.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Enyo lugubris RT, Mournful Sphinx

This moth is much more common in the deep south.

Larvae probably feed on Vitus tiliifolia and other members of the Vitaceae family: Vitis, Cissus, Ampelopsis.

Hemaris thysbe RT, the Hummingbird Clearwing

This interesting day flier is confirmed for Essex.

They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.

Hemaris diffinis RT, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth

This moth is widely distributed and often reported north, west and south of Clarendon.

I expect you have them.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon RT, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is not reported for Essex, but 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 fasciatus RT, Banded Sphinx

Water Primrose and Evening Primrose are favourite adult nectar sources.

The larvae are brightly coloured and feed on these same plants.

Eumorpha pandorus RT, 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 where they have not previously been reported.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis RT, the Nessus Sphinix

This species is probably much more widely distributed than is indicated. As a (rapid) day flier it would not be readily collected. 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 RT, the Azalea Sphinx

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

It is widespread in its distribution. I have reared them on Prince Edward Island from locally caught females.

Pupae tend to be very lively.

Darapsa myron RT, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
It is widely reported as far north as southern Maine. If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby.

Darapsa versicolor WO, the Hydrangea Sphinx

If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have the Hydrangea Sphinx.

It has not been widely reported, however, and probably is uncommon or not present.

Deidamia inscriptum RT, the Lettered Sphinx

I do not know the origin of the species name choice, but "inscripta" may have been chosen for the parallel "lines" on the forewings, suggesting lines of script.

Hyles lineata RT, the White-lined Sphinx

This species is widespread in the United States, and people regularly report finding larvae in their gardens. The species also migrates, and sometimes there are population explosions.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, the Abbott's Sphinx

This moth is very much under reported. It is a rapid day flier so is probably not in too many collections.

Grape is a popular larval host.

Xylophanes tersa RT Tersa Sphinx

I took one as a boy in New Jersey, but they aree much more common in the southern states.

Ryan Taylor reports seeing six to eight and has found a larva in Clarendon.

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