Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, January 23, 2009
King County, Washington
Paonias excaecata, courtesy of Joan F. Rickert.
For care of "found larvae/caterpillars" visit Manduca sexta larva, Travis County, central Texas,
August 21, 2008, Trina Woodall.
Only seventeen Sphingidae species are listed for Washington on the U.S.G.S.
website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in
King County (Three are reported on U.S.G.S. as of August 25, 2008).
It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails
and notes, will help you quickly identify the larvae you are likely to
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 with its larvae are present or
might be present. I have included many species not on the
USGS list for Washington; I believe they are or might be 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
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).
WO, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash
The larvae are pale bluish green. The head has a pair of yellow
lateral bands meeting at the apex. The oblique, lateral stripes are
pale and bordered anteriorly with a darker green.
Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.doubtful
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.
The basic body colour can be either glaucous or apple-green, without the earlier body tubercles. The oblique side stripes are white,
edged with purple.
The horn is sky blue. The spiracles are pale orange and the anal flap is edged with yellow.
Larvae feed on the common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
and on coralberry (S. orbiculatus).
Note the two golden
lines of slightly raised bumps, one just behind the head, the other
on the thorax.
Larvae feed on cottonwood and poplar (Populus) and willow
Larvae are very chunky with little to distinguish them
from Pachysphinx modesta.
Larvae accept willows, birches, and cherries.
I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada.
Skin is quite granulous.
Ophthalmica larvae resemble cerisyi larvae, both being pale
green, with granular skin, pale lateral diagonal lines, faint red
spiracular circles, and very pale longitudinal lines running from
head to more pronounced anal diagonal line.
Larvae have green heads bounded dorsally with pale yellow
inverted "V". Note blue horn.
Larval host plants include Snowberry (Symphoricarpos),
honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, high bush cranberry and hawthorn (Crataegus).
Horn is black with a slightly lighter base. This western species was formerly classified as
H. diffinis or H. senta. Those species west of the Continental Divide are now classified as
WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth
or Gallium Sphinx
This species is not reported in Chippewa, but it has been recorded in
eastern Wisconsin counties. I suspect it is present.
Larvae come in black and in brown forms and often feed on
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
Larvae feed on elegant fairyfan (Clarkia unguiculata) in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae).
Larvae feed on willow weed (Epilobium) and possibly thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus).
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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