Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 15, 2011
Updated as per BAMONA, July 26, 2014

Caledonia County, Vermont

Sphingidae

As of July 26, 2014, the BAMONA website lists twenty-three Sphingidae species in Vermont. Five species, Ceratomia undulosa, Lapara bombycoides, Amphion floridensis, Eumorpha achemon, Hyles gallii, are reported in Caledonia County.

I do not have confirmations of the other species listed on this page as being present in Vermont, but I, William Oehlke (WO), expect they are likely present. Please help me improve the documented accuracy of this page by sending sighting dates and locations, preferably with digital images suitable for display. All images that I display are credited to respective photographers and remain the property of those photographers.

It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

Please send sightings, preferably with a digital image, date and location to oehlkew@islandtelecom.com.

Please also send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Visit Caledonia County Sphingidae Larvae: Caterpillars; Hornworms

Visit Vermont Catocala: Underwing Moths

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor, Elm Sphinx; Four-horned Sphinx: Brown with dark brown and white markings including a white costal area near wing base, dark streaks along veins, and a white spot in cell. Upperside of hindwing is light brown and has dark brown band along outer margin. Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia undulosa, 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.

Dolba hyloeus, 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. Larve are not limited to pawpaw.

Lapara bombycoides, Northern Pine Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is gray with heavy black bands. The upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings.

Lintneria eremitus, Hermit Sphinx: 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.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Abdomen usually has five, sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. The upperside of the forewing is blurry brown and gray. The upperside of the hindwing is banded with brown and white and has two well-separated median zigzag bands.

Sphinx canadensis, Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it may be in your area. Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis, Northern Ash Sphinx; Great Ash Sphinx: Soft dark gray to blue-gray with series of black dashes, one of which reaches wing tip. Hindwing black with blurry pale gray bands. Ash, lilac, privet, cherry, quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum, Wild Cherry Sphinx

Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth is at rest.

Sphinx gordius, Apple Sphinx: 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.

Sphinx kalmiae, Laurel Sphinx: 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.

Sphinx luscitiosa , Canadian Sphinx; Clemen's Sphinx: Yellowish gray males and pale gray with faint yellow tint females. Dark border on outer margin widens as it approaches inner margin. Hw upperside is deep yellow in males, pale yellow in females; both with a wide black border.

Sphinx poecila, Poecila Sphinx: FW outer wing fringes are checkered black and white; almost pure white (lightly checked with grey) on hw. Dark gray fw has diffuse black and gray wavy lines with series of black dashes ending at wing tip, and a white cell spot. Cell spot readily distinguishes poecila from canadensis.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis, Walnut Sphinx: Adults are 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. This is first Sphinx species I reared as a boy in New Jersey.
Female is different.

Pachysphinx modesta, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx: This large moth has a full, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump.

Paonias excaecata, Blinded Sphinx: Outer margin of forewing quite wavy. Dark cell spot and dark oblique line mid wing from costa almost to inner margin. Basic ground colour is pinkish brown. At rest lower wings are almost completely hidden. Moth gets its name from blue-gray pupil surrounded by black, with hot pink wing scales in basal area of hindwing.

Paonias myops, Small-eyed Sphinx: Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is probably common in Franklin County although not officially recorded. I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported as far south as Florida.

Smerinthus cerisyi, Cerisyi's Sphinx: Degree of scalloping in fw outer margin is highly variable. Specimens from Canadian Prairie provinces tend to be darker than specimens from elsewhere. Circular or diamond-shaped black spot of hindwing is usually centered in blue spot.

Smerinthus jamaicensis, Twin-spotted Sphinx: Smerinthus jamaicensis closely resembles Smerinthus cerisyi, but jamaicensis is much smaller with larger blue patches on more vibrant and deeper purple in the lower wings. Look for dark brown half moon, inwardly banded in white, at forewing apex.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris diffinis, Snowberry Clearwing; Bumblebee Moth: Hemaris diffinis is a very variable species, but almost always the abdomen sports contrasting black and yellow hairs, the ventral surface being quite black. The legs also tend to be quite dark and there is a black mask running across the eye and along the sides of the thorax.

Hemaris gracilis, Slender Clearwing; 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.

Hemaris thysbe, 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.

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, Achemon Sphinx: Adults nectar from flowers of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), petunia (Petunia hybrida), mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), and phlox (Phlox).

Eumorpha pandorus, 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 where they have not previously been reported.

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. Posed specimen, left, only shows one yellow abdominal band.

Darapsa choerilus, Azalea Sphinx: 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. The lower wings of this hawkmoth are a solid brownish-orange, matching the body colour.

Darapsa myron, Virginia Creeper Sphinx; Grapevine Sphinx: The forewing upperside is dark brown to pale yellowish gray/green, with an olive tint. On the costal margin there is a dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent. The upperside of the hindwing is pale orange.

Darapsa versicolor, 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.

Deidamia inscriptum, 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. The upperside of the hindwing is orange-brown with a dark brown outer margin and median line.

Hyles gallii, Bedstraw Hawk Moth; Gallium Sphinx: This moth is somewhat similar to the White-lined Sphinx, but has a broader, more irregular cream coloured oblique line, and it lacks the smaller white lines on the forewing. Thorax is also without white lines.

Hyles lineata, the White-lined Sphinx: The forewing upperside is dark olive brown with paler brown along the costa and outer margin, a narrow tan band running from the wing tip to the base, and white streaks along the veins. The hindwing upperside is black with a reddish pink median band.

Proserpinus flavofasciata, the Yellow-banded Day Sphinx: This species is not officialy reported from your county. Adults fly as a single brood from April-June in meadows in coniferous forests. Adults fly during the afternoon.

Sphecodina abbottii, Abbott's Sphinx: Adults are said to mimic bumblebees and make a buzzing sound when feeding. The wing margins are scalloped. The upperside of the forewing is dark brown with light brown bands and markings. The upperside of the hindwing is yellow with a wide black outer margin.

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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