Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Dale Smith, April 19, 2006
Updated as per personal communication with Seana Saxon, August, 2006
Updated as per personal communication with Kelly Delany
Updated as per personal communication with Val Mansfield, March 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Justin & Valerie Valleau, August 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Michelle Swan, April 1, 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Tristyn Schreiber Underwood, May 26, 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Virginia Dyson, June 24, 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Gary Vernon, September 19, 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Robert McClure, October 8, 2010
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, November 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Lacey L. Ogburn, November, 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Glen (Agrius cingulata, Carrollton, April 30, 2011); May 5, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Peter F. Assmann, May 31, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Barbara Kelly, (Eumorpha fasciatus, Terrell, Kaufman County, August 18, 2015); August 20, 2015
Updated as per personal communication with Mary Morrow, (Amorpha juglandis, Double Oak, Denton County, June 7, 2015); November 15, 2015
Updated as per personal communication with Jennifer Kolmes, (Amorpha juglandis, Richardson, Dallas County, August 13, 2017); August 16, 2017

Northeastern Texas
Sphingidae

Amorpha juglandis, Arlington (Tarrant County), Texas,
April 19, 2006, courtesy of Dale Smith.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Dale Smith who sent me the picture of the Amorpha juglandis male from Arlington (Tarrant County) at the top of this page.

Dale writes, April 19, 2006, "I could not identify the above moth until I saw your website.

"I found the moth on the outside wall of my shop in Arlington, Texas.

"It looks more like the female to me, but Iím not an expert.

"Would you mind telling me what you think?"

I identified the moth for Dale as a male Amorpha juglandis. The resting pose is very similar to that of the female on the species page, but note the shape of the abdomen and the shape of the antennae in Dale's image. Females have a turkey baster shaped abdomen, and their antennae are smoother.

Seana Saxon sends these nice images from Dallas, Texas, August 3, 2006. The pointed head (outlined in yellow), grainy skin and dominant last abdominal stripe are diagnostic of Amorpha juglandis.

Apparently Amorpha juglandis is quite common in north eastern Texas. Mary Morrow sends the following image from Double Oak, Denton County.

Amorpha juglandis male, Double Oak, Denton County, Texas,
June 7, 2015, courtesy of Mary Morrow.

Jennifer Kolmes also encountered Amorpha juglandi

Amorpha juglandis male, Richardson, Dallas County, Texas,
August 13, 2017, courtesy of Jennifer Kolmes.

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

A "USGS" indicates the moth is reported on the USGS 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.

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

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, USGS/RM/GlenPink-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).

Agrius cingulata, Dallas, Collin County, October 8, 2010, Robert McClure.
Agrius cingulata, Carrollton, Dallas, Denton, Collin counties, April 29, 2011, Glen.

Ceratomia amyntor USGS, 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).

Ceratomia catalpae WO/conf., 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.

Ceratomia catalpae larvae, Grayson County, September 28, 2008

Ceratomia hageni USGS, 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.

Ceratomia hageni, DeSoto, Dallas County, June 24, 2009, Virginia Dyson.

Ceratomia undulosa USGS/PFA, 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, Plano, Collin Co., May 28, 2011, Peter F. Assmann.

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.

Isoparce cupressi USGS, the Cypress or Baldcypress Sphinx. Isoparce cupressi, the rare Cypress Sphinx, flies in Cypress swamps in Georgia (specimen type locality), and from Maryland to Texas. It has been reported in Mexico.

Lintneria eremitoides USGS, 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 WO/LO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter Manduca quinquemaculata.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Barry and Corsicana, Navarro Co., Lacey L. Ogburn

Manduca rustica WO/GV, 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.

Manduca rustica larvae feeding on butterfly plant, Midlothian, Ellis County, September 19, 2009, Gary Vernon.

Manduca sexta WO, 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 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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis DS/SS/USGS/LO/MM, 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, Corsicana, Navarro County, Lacey L. Ogburn
Amorpha juglandis male, Double Oak, Denton County, June 7, 2015, Mary Morrow.
Amorpha juglandis male, Richardson, Dallas County, August 13, 2017, Jennifer Kolmes.

Pachysphinx modesta WO very questionable, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx. They are common on Prince Edward Island, but are not often reported in Texas.

Paonias excaecata USGS, the Blinded Sphinx. Named for the dull grey-blue spot (minus dark pupil) in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution in the eastern United States. I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Paonias excaecata, Montgomery County, May 26, 2008, Tristyn Schreiber Underwood.

Paonias myops USGS, the Small-eyed Sphinx

Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is probably found in many southeastern Texas counties.

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

Smerinthus jamaicensis USGS, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

This moth is widely distributed and fairly common.

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

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

Aellopos titan Kelly Delany, the Titan Sphinx.

The body is dark brown with a wide white stripe across the abdomen. The wings are dark brown.
The upperside of the hindwing has pale patches along the costa and inner margin. There is also a black dot at the end of the forewing cell. rare

Enyo lugubris, the Mournful Sphinx, JV stray. The body and wings are dark brown. The forewing has a large black patch covering most of the outer half of the wing. There is a pale tan cell spot (dark inner pupil), and a fairly straight median line to the inside of the cell spot.

Enyo lugubris, Smith County, November 7, 2007, courtesy of Justin & Valerie Valleau.

Erinnyis obscura, the Obscure Sphinx, WO questionable. During the night adults nectar at flowers, including bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) and Asystasia gangetica beginning at dusk.

July and August are flight times in the southern states. rare

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next two species.

Hemaris thysbe USGS, 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 USGS, 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 USGS, the Achemon Sphinx. Larvae get large and feed on grape vines and Virginia creeper.

Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

Eumorpha fasciatus USGS, the Banded Sphinx. 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. Larvae feed upon primrose-willow, Ludwigia (water primrose) and other plants in the evening primrose family.

Eumorpha fasciatus, Terrell, Kaufman County, August 18, 2015, Barbara Kelly.

Eumorpha pandorus WO, 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 not previously reported. generally more eastern species

Eumorpha vitis WO/LO/DS, the Vine Sphinx
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. Note large brown parallelogram between lowest striga up to transverse lines.

Eumorpha vitis larvae, Whitney, Hill County, courtesy of Donna Sims, via Lacey L. Ogburn.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis USGS, 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 choerilus USGS, the Azalea Sphinx

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.

Darapsa myron USGS/LO, 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.

Darapsa myron, Eureka, Navarro County, courtesy of Lacey L. Ogburn.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the Lettered Sphinx. 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. Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) all serve as larval hosts.

Hyles lineata USGS/MS, the White-lined Sphinx

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

Hyles lineata, Southlake, Dallas/Fortworth suburb, evening of April 1, 2008, Michelle Swan.

Proserpinus guarae USGS, 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 WO, 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

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. generally more eastern species

Xylophanes tersa USGS/LO, 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.

Xylophanes tersa, Corsicana, Navarro Co., (larva and adult), Lacey L. Ogburn

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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.

Aellopos titan, nectaring at Mexican Bush Sage, Collin County, Texas,
5:00pm, October 31, courtesy of Kelly Delany.

Ceratomia hageni, March 21, 2007, Ennis (Ellis Co.), Texas, courtesy of Val Mansfield.

Eumorpha fasciatus, nectaring at lantana, Tyler (Smith County), Texas,
August 10, 2007, courtesy of Justin & Valerie Valleau

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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