Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 2009
Updated as per BAMONA; August 3, 2011; Updated July 26, 2014
Paonias myops, Bennington County, Vermont, July 25, 2009, courtesy of Anita Capella.
This page is inspired by and dedicated to Anita Capella
who sent me the image of the Paonias myops moth at the top of the page.
Anita writes, "I found this moth on my screen and am wondering if you could help identify it.
I had never seen one and I'm was not sure that this is a native species in Vermont. After visiting your website, you are welcome to use this photo.
I do not have a larger photo but possibly I can enlarge this one. I photographed this moth in Bennington County, VT."
Seventeen Sphingidae species (Twenty-three as of July 26, 2014) are listed for Vermont on the U.S.G.S. website (now BAMONA). Only two (five as of July 26, 2014:
Pachysphinx modesta, Paonias excaecata, Smerinthus cerisyi, Amphion floridensis, Hemaris thysbe,
of those species are reported in Bennington. I have, however, added some species which I feel are probably present in Vermont (not reported) and in Bennington
County. It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.
A "WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in your county, but I
(William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present. A "USGS" indicates the
moth is reported 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.
Please also send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.
Visit Bennington County Sphingidae Larvae: Caterpillars; Hornworms
Visit Vermont Catocala: Underwing Moths
Agrius cingulata, Pink-spotted Hawkmoth,
This moth is a very strong flier, but would only make its way to
Vermont as a rare stray. There are not too many records from Vermont, but records exist for NY, NJ and CT.
It has been reported in Washington Co., VT.
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
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.
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
The upperside of the forewing is gray with heavy black bands. The
upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings.
the Hermit Sphinx:
The upperside of the forewing is gray-brown with wavy lines, black
dashes, and one or two small white spots near the center of the
costa. The upperside of the hindwing is black with two white bands
and a triangular black patch at the base.
Note the golden hair on the thorax.
The moth abdomen usually has five but sometimes six pairs of yellow
bands. The upperside of the forewing is blurry brown and gray.
Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not
often reported anywhere,
but it may be in Windsor County.
Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry
the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing is soft dark gray to blue-gray with
a series of black dashes, one of which reaches the wing tip.
TForewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the
moth is at rest.
This species is probably present in Windsor County.
Colouration and markings are highly variable from one specimen to
another. The fringes on forewing are mostly
black with some white; those on the hindwing are mostly white with a
few black patches.
The lower forewings are predominantly brownish-yellow with a fairly
wide dark bar along the inner margin. At rest the wings hug the body,
giving the moth a long slender look.
the Canadian Sphinx or
The upperside of the forewing is yellowish gray in males and pale
gray with a faint yellow tint in females. In both sexes, the dark
border on the outer margin widens as it approaches the inner margin.
If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the
They are pretty common here on Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada.
They are reported as far south as northeastern New York.
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.
See the file for the female; she is different.
USGS, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx, BAMONA
This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably
They are common on Prince Edward Island.
Named for the dull grey-blue spot in the hindwing, this moth has a
wide distribution and is probably common in Windsor although not
I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.
Paonias myops, July 25, 2009, Anita Capella
Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a
and is probably common in Windsor although not reported.
I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.
Smerinthus cerisyi antennae typically rest alongside head and thorax and forewings generally
conceal hindwings. This is a very easy species to rear.
Smerinthus jamaicensis closely resembles
Smerinthus cerisyi, but jamaicensis is much smaller
with larger blue patches on more vibrant and deeper purple in the
See Hemaris comparison to help
distinguish the next three species.
WO, the Snowberry Clearwing or
Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable, both geographically
and seasonally. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to
brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The abdomen tends to be dark (black) with
1-2 yellow segments just before the terminal end.
Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing
Hemaris gracilis is distinguished from similar species by a pair of
red-brown bands on the undersides of the thorax, which varies from
green to yellow-green dorsally and sometimes brown with white
underneath. They have a red abdomen.
WO, 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.
This moth has beautiful pink hindwings.
Larvae get quite large and
are often found on grape foliage or crawling on the ground
seeking some soft earth for tunneling and pupation.
If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have
I often get asked to identify larvae from areas where they have not
previously been reported.
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.
They are common in New Jersey and common
here on Prince Edward Island.
You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus,
especially in older literature. I suspect they are present.
WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
This moth is recorded on the U.S.G.S. site for Windsor County.
It is widely reported as far north as southern Maine. If you have the
foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this
the Hydrangea Sphinx:
Fw upperside is often greenish brown with
curved dark lines and pinkish-white patches.
Hw upperside is pale yellow to reddish brown with white
along the costal margin, greenish brown along the outer margin, and
white shaded with greenish brown on inner margin.
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.
The upperside of the hindwing is orange-brown with a dark brown outer margin and median line.
WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth
or Gallium Sphinx
This species is reported in Windsor County by Beth Anderson.
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.
WO, the White-lined Sphinx
This species is not reported from Windsor County.
It is a strong migrator from the south,
and has been seen in northern New Hampshire.
WO, the Yellow-banded Day Sphinx
This species is not officialy reported from Windsor County.
Adults fly as a single brood from April-June in meadows in coniferous
forests. Adults fly during the afternoon. possibly in northern Bennington
This moth is very much under reported. It is a
rapid day flier so is probably not in too many collections.
Grape is a popular larval host.
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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