Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Betsy Higgins, September, 25, 2011
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 25, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Jay Phinney (Hyles lineata, Big Spring, Howard County, September 5, 2013); September 6, 2013
Updated as per personal communication with Jay Phinney (Eumorpha achemon, Manduca rustica, Xylophanes tersa); August 30, 2017

West Central Texas
Sphingidae

Hyles lineata, Concan, Uvalde County, Texas, April 19, 2008, courtesy of Betsy Higgins.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Betsy Higgins who sent me the pictures of Hyles lineata from Concan (Uvalde County) at the top and bottom of this page.

Betsy has also sent a picture of Eumorpha vitis from the same location.

Eumorpha vitis, Concan, Uvalde County, Texas,
April 20, 2008, courtesy of Betsy Higgins.

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 West Central 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 note that I have no confirmations for these moths in West Central Texas, unless specifically indicated.

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 send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Many thanks to Jay Phinney who sends the image (right) of Hyles lineata. Jay writes, "Caught several of these lovely creatures nectaring in my yard. I live in Big Spring, Howard County, Texas. I found your site while researching. Kudos to you on you work. I enjoy learning new things so this was fun for me."

The following evening Jay had another visitor:

Eumorpha vitis, Big Spring, Howard County, Texas,
September 6, 2013, courtesy of Jay Phinney.

Jay Phinney writes August 29, 2017, "Sept 29, 2016 I walked out the front door to find Tersa on a fern. Then just a few weeks ago August 20, 2017 went out on the back porch to find Achemon on a chair. Tonight August 29, 2017 I find Rustic on the bar in the back porch. This one has no registered sightings in Central West Texas where I live; I believe the presence may be due to Hurricane Harvey's strong atmospheric disturbances. All their headshots are attached."

I think Jay is probably right about hurricane winds relocating Sphingidae outside of their normal ranges. Best wishes for all those in eastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana who are trying to cope with Hurricane Harvey.

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

Visit West Central Texas Sphingidae Larvae (Caterpillars).

Visit Texas Catocala: Underwing Moths.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, Pink-spotted hawkmoth: Strong migrant; adults nectar from deep-throated flowers including moonflower (Calonyction aculeatum), morning glory (Convolvulus), honey suckle (Lonicera), petunia (Petunia species).

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter Manduca quinquemaculata.

Lintneria eremitoides, Sage Sphinx Moth: Fw: pale gray with yellowish tint, wavy black lines and dashes, and inconspicuous white spots.

Manduca rustica, Rustic Sphinx: Three large yellow spots on each side ofabdomen. Fw: yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown with dusting of white scales and zigzagged black and white lines.

Manduca rustica August 29, 2017, Jay Phinney

Manduca sexta, Carolina Sphinx: If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered Manduca sexta in larval stage. Larvae can strip tomato plant.

Sphinx dollii, Doll's sphinx: (1 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches (4.5 - 6.3 cm)), flies in arid brushlands, desert foothills from Nevada, southern California, east through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico to Oklahoma, Texas.

Sphinx libocedrus, Incense Cedar Sphinx: Fw: pale blue-gray to dark gray with black dash reaching wing tip and white stripe along lower outer margin. Hw: black with two diffuse white bands, upper one practically non-existent.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis, Walnut Sphinx: Highly variable; sometimes wings may be all one color or may have several colors, ranging from pale to dark brown, may have white or pink tinge. Patterns range from faint to pronounced. Female different.

Amorpha juglandis, Big Spring,Howard County, Texas, September 17, 2013, Jay Phinney.

Pachysphinx modesta, Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx: Large body and wingspan.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

Erinnyis obscura, Obscure Sphinx: At night adults nectar at flowers, including bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis), Asystasia gangetica beginning at dusk. July-August: flight times in southern states. rare

Hemaris diffinis, Snowberry Clearwing:Adults mimic bumblebees; variable. Wings: basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases, edges. Thorax: golden-brown to dark greenish-brown. Abdomen: dark (black) with 1-2 yellow segments before tip.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, Achemon Sphinx: Larvae get large and feed on grape vines and Virginia creeper. Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

Eumorpha achemon, August 20, 2017, Jay Phinney

Eumorpha vitis, Vine Sphinx: Fw: dark pinkish brown with lighter brown band along costa, sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. Hw: pink patch on inner margin. Note large brown parallelogram between lowest striga up to transverse lines.

Eumorpha vitis, Concan, Uvalde County, April 20, 2008, courtesy of Betsy Higgins.
Eumorpha vitis, Big Spring, Howard County, September 6, 2013, Jay Phinney.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis, 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, Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Grapevine Sphinx: If you have foodplants indicated in common names, you probably have this species nearby. Hw: orange.

Hyles lineata BH/JP, White-lined Sphinx: Dark olive brown with paler brown along costa, outer margin, narrow tan band running from wing tip to base, white streaks along veins.

Hyles lineata, Concan, Uvalde County, April 19, 2008, Betsy Higgins
Hyles lineata, Big Spring, Howard County, September 5, 2013, Jay Phinney

Proserpinus guarae, Proud Sphinx: Rare, possibly endangered species flies from Texas and Louisiana east to northern Florida, north to Alabama, Missouri, northern Georgia, 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 JP, Tersa Sphinx: Pale brown with lavender-gray at base and has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout. Hw: dark brown with band of whitish, wedge-shaped marks.

Xylopphanes tersa, Sept 29, 2016, Jay Phinney

Hyles lineata, Concan, Uvalde County, Texas, April 19, 2008, courtesy of Betsy Higgins.

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.

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