Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Melodie and Bretti van Wye, September 9, 2013
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 9, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA, September 9, 2013

Sumner County, Tennessee
Sphingidae Larvae

Manduca sexta, Portland, Sumner County, Tennessee,
September 8, 2013, courtesy of Melodie and Bretti van Wye.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Melodie and Bretti van Wye who sent me the image (top of page) of a Manduca sexta caterpillar, found in the yard on tomato plants in Portland, Sumner County, September 8, 2013.

For care of "found larvae/caterpillars and or pupae" visit Manduca sexta larva, central Texas, August 21, 2008, Trina Woodall.

Thirty-nine Sphingidae species are listed for Tennessee on the BAMONA website (September 2013). Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Sumner County (Two are reported on U.S.G.S. as of September 2013). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the caterpillars (larvae) you are likely to encounter.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in Williamson County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be present.

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 Sumner County Sphingidae: Adult Moths

Visit Tennessee Catocala: Underwing Moths

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, BAMONA Pink-spotted Hawkmoth: Plants in Convolvulaceae family: Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato); and Solanaceae family, especially (Datura) (jimsonweed); related plants. Also brown form. Very large, dark spiracular circles.

Ceratomia amyntor WO, Elm Sphinx; Four-horned Sphinx: Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), cherry (Prunus). Both green, brown forms. Four thoracic "horns".

Ceratomia catalpae WO, Catalpa Sphinx: Catalpa species: (Catalpa bignoniodes; C. speciosa) in Bignoniaceae family. Larvae are mostly white in early instars.

Ceratomia hageni WO, Hagen's Sphinx , Osage Orange Sphinx: Osage orange (Maclura pomifera); granulous appearance with variable amounts of purple along oblique white stripes.

Ceratomia undulosa WO, Waved Sphinx: Fraxinus, Ligustrum, Quercus, Crataegus, Chionanthus virginicus. Fifth instar: spiracular ovals decidedly red, anal horn off-white to pinkish laterally.

Dolba hyloeus WO, Pawpaw Sphinx: Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), littleleaf sweetfern (Myrica aspleniifolia), possum haw (Ilex decidua), inkberry (Ilex glabra), Tall Gallberry Holly (Ilex coriacea). Probably feed on Ilex verticellata in Quebec.

Lapara coniferarum WO, Southern Pine Sphinx: Various pine species, including loblolly pine (Pinus taeda),d longleaf pine (P. pinaster). Well camouflaged and are without an anal horn.

Lintneria eremitus WO, Hermit Sphinx. Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis), sage (Salvia). Collinsonia canadensis (Canada Horsebalm, Richweed, Hardhack, Heal-All, Horseweed), houseplant, Coleus.

Manduca jasminearum WO, Ash Sphinx: Ash in Fraxinus genus. Syringa (lilac), Ulmus (elm).

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Tomato Hornworms: black horn at end of abdomen. Potato, tobacco, tomato, other plants in nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Manduca rustica WO, Rustic Sphinx: Numerous white nodules on thorax, seven pairs of oblique, blue-gray stripes along body. Horn: white at base, blue-gray tip.

Manduca sexta M/BvW, Carolina Sphinx: Tobacco Hornworms, red-tipped horn. Tobacco, tomato, occasionally potato, pepper crops, plants in nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Manduca sexta larva, tomato foliage, Portland, September 8, 2013, Melodie and Bretti van Wye.

Paratrea plebeja WO, Plebeian Sphinx: Common trumpetcreeper (Campsis radicans), Florida yellow-trumpet (Tecoma stans), lilac (Syringa species), passionflower (Passiflora species).Horn blue, preceded by yellow dash.

Sphinx canadensis WO, Sphinx canadensis, Canadian Sphinx: Uncommon, but it should be present. White ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis WO, Northern Ash Sphinx, Great Ash Sphinx: Pale bluish green. Head has pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at apex. Oblique, pale, lateral stripes, bordered anteriorly with darker green. Ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, Wild Cherry Sphinx: Hide by day, Feed on cherry, plum, apple at night. Amelanchier nantuckensis in Massachusetts; Michigan on Prunus serotina.

Sphinx franckii WO, Franck's Sphinx Moth: Various species of ash (Fraxinus). Raised, pointed bumps, especially near head and thorax give this caterpillar reptilian appearance.

Sphinx gordius WO, Apple Sphinx: Apple (Malus), sweetfern (Myrica), Carolina rose (Rosa carolina), blueberry, huckleberry (Vaccinium), white spruce (Picea glauca), American larch (Larix laricina), alder (Alnus).

Sphinx kalmiae WO, Laurel Sphinx: Laurel Sphinx larvae feed primarily on lilac and fringe. Larvae have also been found on privet.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, Walnut Sphinx: Walnut, butternut (Juglans), hickory (Carya), alder (Alnus), beech (Fagus), hazelnut (Corylus), hop-hornbeam (Ostrya).

Pachysphinx modesta WO, Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx: Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood. Anal horn all but disappears in final instar.

Paonias astylus Huckleberry Sphinx: More common in southern Massachusetts and is a relatively uncommon species. Only rarely are they seen in Maine. I never saw one in New Jersey.

Paonias excaecata WO, Blinded Sphinx: Larvae accept willows, birches, and cherries. I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada.

Paonias myops WO, Small-eyed Sphinx: The larvae depicted is probably third instar. There may be more red spotting on the sides as larvae mature.

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, Twin-spotted Sphinx: Birches, cherries, poplars, willows. Red markings on sides vary greatly from specimen to specimen.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next two species.

Hemaris thysbe WO, Hummingbird Clearwing: Also orangey-pink prepupal form. Lateral line runs from S1 to blue horn. Viburnum; related plants.

Hemaris diffinis WO, Snowberry Clearwing: Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane (Apocynum), dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera).Horn: black, yellow base.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, Achemon Sphinx: Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), other vines, ivies (Ampelopsis). Both light (green) form and darker (tan/brown) form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines.

Eumorpha pandorus WO, Pandorus Sphinx: If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you might encounter this species. Note five large white ovals. Orangey-brown and green forms also.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO, Nessus Sphinix: Virginia creeper, Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), cayenne pepper (Capsicum). Larvae are green until the final instar.

Darapsa choerilus WO, Azalea Sphinx: Azalea, Viburnum; progress very rapidly. Larva, left, on Viburnum cassinoides: getting ready to pupate. Color change from green to light burgundy-brown indicates pupation is imminent.

Darapsa myron BAMONA, Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Grapevine Sphinx: If you have foodplants indicated in common names, you probably myron. Hws: orange. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, Viburnum.

Darapsa versicolor WO, Hydrangea Sphinx: Larvae turn deep chocolate brown just prior to pupation, "horn" on tail also turns downward as pupation draws near. Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), waterwillow (Decodon verticillatus).

Deidamia inscriptum WO, Lettered Sphinx: Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) all serve as larval hosts. The alternating yellow and greyish-green rings across the back distinguish this larva.

Hyles lineata WO, White-lined Sphinx: Highly varied. Willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), Fuschia. Red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, Abbott's Sphinx: Larvae feed at night on grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis); hide on bark by day. Virginia creeper would also be a suitable host. Dark form without the green patches. Note "raised eye", replacing anal horn.

Xylophanes tersa WO, Tersa Sphinx: Borreria, Catalpa, Manettia spp., Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), starclusters (Pentas species), Joe-pie weed, Hamelia patens, on Hedoydis nigricans. Green form may be more common.

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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