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
The upperside of the forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black
and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot.
It is named for the wavy lines on the forewings.
Manduca quinquemaculata, July 2006, Tom Middagh
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.
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
If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it, though.
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.
Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth
is at rest.
Sphinx eremitus WO, the
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). doubtful
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.
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.
See the file for the female; she is different.
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
This moth is not officially recorded in Clay County. It is fond
of poplars and
This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably
This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta
being smaller and darker.
If you've got willows or poplars nearby, then you possibly have
occidentalis in your immediate area.
The outer margin of the forewing is quite wavy. There is a dark cell
spot and a dark oblique line mid wing from the costa almost to the
inner margin. Basic ground colour is pinkish brown.
Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide
distribution. Both sexes rest with wings parallel to the resting
surface, with the upper lobes of the hindwings protruding above the
Smerinthus jamaicensis, July 2006, Tom Middagh
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.
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. if present, only as a stray
See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish
the next three species.
WO/TM, 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.
Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable, both geographically
and seasonally. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to
brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to
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. unlikely
This moth is not officially reported for Clay County, but
it is fairly often reported
along the coast from southern New Jersey
to central Maine.
Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.
If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have
I have often seen them in Pottersville, New Jersey (Hunterdon County).
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.
if present, only as a rare stray
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.
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.
WO/TM, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
The forewing upperside is dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with an
On the costal margin there is a dark rectangular patch, although this
may be reduced or absent. The upperside of the hindwing is pale
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
TM, the Spurge Hawk Moth
The body is light brown with various white and dark brown
markings, while the wings have a conspicuous tan, brown, and pink or
red color pattern.
Tom Middagh confirms with many sightings, July 2006.
Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx
Larvae feed on Epilobium angustifolium and Galium.
expect flight is late May-July with a possible fall flight as well.
Hyles lineata, July 2006, Tom Middagh
TM, 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.
The upperside of the forewing is pale gray-green with a deep
green-brown median area and a white dash at the wing tip.
rare if present
Sphecodina abbottii, July 2006, Tom Middagh
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 and Virginia Creeper are popular larval hosts.
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.
if present, only as a rare stray