Dedicated/inspired by personal communication with Delyse Jaeger, June 22, 2009; December 2, 2010
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, December 2, 2010
West Central Texas
Manduca rustica, near Terlingua, Brewster County, Texas, July 30, 2008,
courtesy of B. Wunderlich, the observer and photographer, via
Phil Crosby, the submitter.
This page is inspired by and dedicated to
Delyse Jaeger who sent me the
Eumorpha vitis image, top of this page.
Delyse writes, "We have attached an image of a caterpillar that we are having trouble identifying. We believe it belongs to the Sphinx family...What do
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 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 within the area
bounded from Val Verde north to Ector, east to Coke and south to Kinney, northwest back to Val verde.
Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy
by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an
electronic image, via email to
Larvae feed on plants in the Convolvulaceae family, especially
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato) and in the Solanaceae family,
especially (Datura) (jimsonweed) and related plants in the
Americas. There is also a brown form. Look for very large, dark
Lintneria eremitoides. Larval hosts are Sage (Salvia species).
It is anticipated that the Lintneria larvae will most often be encountered on Lamiaceae: Salvia (Sage), Mentha (Mints), Monarda (Beebalm) and
Hyptis (Bushmints); Verbenaceae: Verbena and Lantana camara (shrub verbenas or lantanas).
Although they may be encountered feeding during daylight hours, one is even more likely to discover them feeding in the evening or after dark.
Istar Sphinx larvae feed primarily on mints (Salvia).
Larvae can be considerably darker as per the image at top of the page.
I think istar, separatus and smithi are all being
reassigned to the Lintneria genus. T
Salvia greggii has been confirmed as a larval host
by Robert A. Behrstock.
Jim Tuttle, tentative id, writes, "All of the
penultimate instars of both Lintneria (Sphinx) istar and
Lintneria (Sphinx) separatus that I have reared
have been mundane green." T
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). T
WO, the Rustic Sphinx
The caterpillar has numerous white nodules on top of the thorax and
seven pairs of oblique, blue-gray stripes along the side of the body.
The horn is white at the base and blue-gray at the tip. Many hosts are utilized.
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). T
Larval hosts are Manzanita and Arctostaphylos
of the Ericaceae family. Look for a blue horn and strong purple
colouration. N & E
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. T
Larval hosts are Alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana)
and other juniper species.
It is amazing to me how well the larval
spiracular patches and false feet match
the pattern and colour of the juniper bark.
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.
Amorpha juglandis larvae feed upon Walnut and butternut (Juglans),
hickory (Carya), alder (Alnus), beech (Fagus),
hazelnut (Corylus), and hop-hornbeam (Ostrya).
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood.
Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Larval host plants include Snowberry (Symphoricarpos),
honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane
(Apocynum) and dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera).
Horn is black with a yellow base. T
Larvae feed upon Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper
(Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and other vines and ivies
Larvae occur in both a light (green) form and a darker (tan/brown)
form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines. T
the Vine Sphinx
Eumorpha vitis vitis larvae feed upon grape foliage (Vitis) and
other vines (Cissus): Cissus pseudosicyoides
and Cissus rhombifolia and Cissus sicycoides.
I suspect there would be a brown form.
Note five, smooth, narrow, oblique white lines. S 2/3
In additon to Virginia creeper larvae accept Grape (Vitis),
ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and cayenne pepper (Capsicum).
Larvae are green until the final instar. SH
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. T
WO, 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. T
Larvae feed on (Onagraceae) including evening primrose
(Oenothera), gaura (Gaura), and willow weed
Larvae are green with a short red horn in fourth instar. T
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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