Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Carol Carpenter, May 18, 2011
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, May 18, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Kevin McCollum (Erinnyis lassauxi, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, December 19, 2012); December 19, 2012

Northeastern Texas

Amorpha juglandis, Granbury, Hood County, Texas,
May 18, 2011, courtesy of Carol Carpenter.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Carol Carpenter who sent me the picture of the Amorpha juglandis male from Granbury (Hood County) at the top of this page.

Carol writes, "I found the hawkmoth on my front porch in Granbury Texas."

Many thanks also to Jillian Burrows who sends the following image of Ceratomia undulosa from her area. Jill writes, "I've contacted you in the past regarding the identification of sphinx moths I had come across while living in the Austin, Texas area. Your website has been truly very informative and of great help when I've gotten the opportunity to raise larvae. All your work on these sites is awe-inspiring!

"This morning I came across a mating pair in the driveway; I'm uncertain of what they are, but felt inclined to send you a photo. I've never seen a pair before, and now I hope to find eggs and/or larvae on the vine food source in the backyard - yay! The photo was taken in Mansfield in southern Tarrant County, Texas. If any more information is needed, please feel free to contact me with any other questions and comments, thank you. I have left the photo in its original size. you may want to crop if necessary."

I reply, "Thanks for thinking of me, Jill. The moths (Ceratomia undulosa, the Waved Sphinx) are quite susceptible to predators while pairing. I suspect the female hatched from an underground pupa whose larva fed on a nearby ash tree or a lilac or privet bush. This species is not one of the vine feeders.

"The female will readily lay eggs in an inflated green paper lunch bag, once the pair has separated. She is probably carrying over 200 eggs, so you will probably want to release her after you have obtained some eggs from her. Best of luck."

Ceratomia undulosa pairing, Mansfield, Tarrant County, Texas,
August 25, 2011, courtesy of Jillian Burrows.

Seventy-five Sphingidae species are listed for Texas on the U.S.G.S. website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in the northcentral region. It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

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.

The night-blooming moon flower will attract many Sphingidae at dusk and into the night.

Many thanks to Kevin McCollum who provides images of Erinnyis laussauxi, not previously recorded in Tarrant County. This is probably a late fall stray from further south.

Erinnyis lassauxii, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas,
December 19, 2012, courtesy of Kevin McCollum.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, Pink-spotted hawkmoth,

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). generally more southerly

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). generally more easterly

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

Ceratomia hageni, Hagen's Sphinx or Osage Orange Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is gray with a green tint and has dark indistinct wavy lines, and pale gray patches at the wing tip and along the costa. generally more easterly

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.

Ceratomia undulosa, Mansfield, Tarrant County, August 25, 2011, Jill Burrows.

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.

Lintneria eremitoides, the Sage Sphinx Moth

The upperside of the forewing is pale gray with a yellowish tint, wavy black lines and dashes, and inconspicuous white spots.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter Manduca quinquemaculatus.

Manduca rustica, the Rustic Sphinx

Look for three large yellow spots on each side of the abdomen. The upperside of the forewing is yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown with a dusting of white scales and zigzagged black and white lines. There is also a rare dark form larva. generally more easterly

Manduca sexta, the Carolina Sphinx

If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered Manduca sexta in the larval stage.

Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

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.

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. See the file for the female; she is different.

Amorpha juglandis, Granbury, Hood County, Texas, May 18, 2011, Carol Carpenter.

Pachysphinx modesta, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx

They are common on Prince Edward Island, but are not often reported in Texas.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Erinnyis lassauxii KM, the Dominican Sphinx

This moth flies in Haiti and Jamaica south to Paraguay and Bolivia with occasional sightings in Texas and Arizona.

Erinnyis lassauxii, Fort Worth, December 19, 2012, Kevin McCollum.

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next two species.

Hemaris thysbe, 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. generally more eastern species

Hemaris diffinis, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to dark greenish-brown. The abdomen tends to be dark (black) with 1-2 yellow segments before the tip.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, the Achemon Sphinx

Larvae get large and feed on grape vines and Virginia creeper.

Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis, 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 myron, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx

If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby. The lower wings are orange.

Hyles lineata, the White-lined Sphinx

This species has strong migrating tendancies from much further south. There are records from New Hampshire and Maine.

Proserpinus guarae, the Proud Sphinx

The rare and possibly endangered Proud Sphinx flies from Texas and Louisiana east to northern Florida, north to Alabama, Missouri, northern Georgia, and South Carolina. rare

Proserpinus juanita, the Juanita Sphinx

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

Xylophanes tersa, the Tersa Sphinx

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.

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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.

Use your browser "Back" button to return to the previous page.

This page is brought to you by Bill Oehlke and the WLSS. Pages are on space rented from Bizland. If you would like to become a "Patron of the Sphingidae Site", contact Bill.

Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.

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