Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, October 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Wallace B. Thompson, October 2009 - July 2010

Northern Texas
Sphingidae Larvae

Hyles lineata fifth instar, Borger, Hutchinson County, Texas, courtesy of Wallace B. Thompson.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Wallace B. Thompson who sent me the picture of Hyles lineata larvae from Borger (Hutchinson County) at the top of this page. Wallace also forwarded images of larvae of Hemaris diffinis (next) and what I believe is a heavily parasitized Paratrea plebeja (bottom of page). His picture of an adult Hyles lineata moth is posted on the thumbnail page for northern Texas.

Referring to the larvae, Wallace writes, "(Hyles lineata) Notice exudate along sides where I touched it. A repellent I would guess; (Hemaris diffinis) Found on honeysuckle vine; (Paratrea plebeja) At first I thought it was the same as #2, but now I think a third variation that has been parasitized by Braconid wasp. Found on same honeysuckle vine (more likely trumpet creeper, Campsis radicans, amongst the honeysuckle)."

In July, 2010, Wallace and GayAnn Thompson sent me beautiful images of Eumorpha achemon, available via the link below the E. achemon thumbnail.

Hemaris diffinis fifth instar, Borger, Hutchinson County, Texas, courtesy of Wallace B. Thompson.

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

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

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 northern region. It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter within the area bounded from Lipscomb south to Childress, west to Parmer, and north to Dallam County, east back to Lipscomb.

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:

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

The caterpillars are called Tomato Hornworms and each has a black horn at the end of the abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Manduca sexta WO, the Carolina Sphinx

Tobacco Hornworms, equipped with a red-tipped horn at the end of the abdomen, are true gluttons and feed on tobacco and tomato, and occasionally potato and pepper crops and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Paratrea plebeja RBT, the Plebeian Sphinx
Preferred hosts are common trumpetcreeper (Campsis radicans), Florida yellow-trumpet (Tecoma stans), lilac (Syringa species), and passionflower (Passiflora species).
The anal horn is blue, preceded by a yellow dash.

Paratrea plebeja larva on vine among honeysuckle, Borger, Hutchinson County, Wallace B. Thompson

Sphinx chersis WO, the Great Ash Sphinx
The larvae are pale bluish green. The head has a pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at the apex.
Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx
Larvae hide in the day and feed primarily on cherry, plum, and apple at night. Larvae have been found on Amelanchier nantuckensis in Massachusetts and have been reared to pupation in Michigan on Prunus serotina. Note purple oblique lines.

Sphinx libocedrus WO, the Incense Cedar Sphinx
Larvae feed on New Mexican forestiera (Forestiera neomexicana), on Forestiera angustifolia and on little leaf ash (Fraxinus gooddingii) in the Oleaceae family. There are green and dark forms and all larvae tend to darken just before pupation.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, the Walnut Sphinx

Amorpha juglandis larvae feed upon Walnut and butternut (Juglans), hickory (Carya), alder (Alnus), beech (Fagus), hazelnut (Corylus), and hop-hornbeam (Ostrya).

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx

Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Hemaris diffinis WBT, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth. Larvae eat Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane (Apocynum) and dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). Horn black; yellow base.

Hemaris diffinis larva on honeysuckle, adult, Borger, Hutchinson County, Wallace B. Thompson

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO/WBT, the Achemon Sphinx
Larvae feed upon Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and other vines and ivies (Ampelopsis).
Larvae occur in both a light (green) form and a darker (tan/brown) form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines.

Eumorpha achemon, July 20, 2010, courtesy of Wallace B. Thompson and GayAnn Thompson.

Macroglossini tribe:

Darapsa myron WO, 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. Larvae feed on Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, and Viburnum.

Euproserpinus wiesti WO, Wiest's Primrose Sphinx. Euproserpinus wiesti adults fly, during the day, over sand washes and prairie blow-outs as a single brood from May-June. Larvae feed on prairie primrose (Oenothera latifolia) in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae). Trying to rear in captivity has proven difficult. Larvae seem to need sunshine, heat and humidity.

Hyles lineata WBT, the White-lined Sphinx
Larvae are highly varied and feed on a great diversity of plants including willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), and Fuschia.
All larvae seem, however, to have the red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Hyles lineata, Borger, Hutchinson County, Wallace B. Thompson

Proserpinus juanita WO, the Juanita Sphinx

Larvae feed on (Onagraceae) including evening primrose (Oenothera), gaura (Gaura), and willow weed (Epilobium).

Larvae are green with a short red horn in fourth instar.

Paratrea plebeja fifth instar (heavily parasitized), Borger, Hutchinson County, Texas, courtesy of Wallace B. Thompson.

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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