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. The upperside of the hindwing is light brown and has a dark brown band along the outer margin.
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 gray with heavy black bands. The upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings.
The underside is rather plain.
Hermit Sphinx: Fw upperside is gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or two small white spots near
center of costa. Hw upperside is black with two white bands and a triangular black patch at base. Note golden hair on thorax.
Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis),
and sage (Salvia).
This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens
(potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.
Canadian Sphinx is not common, and is
Absence of white spot on forewing and more brownish coloration serve to separate canadensis from S. poecilus.
Hw fringe also tends to be white on poecilus and checkered brownish on canadensis.
Larval hosts: white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry
WO, 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.
The costal area in the basal and median areas of the forewing is light grey. This colour also
appears in the terminal area. The rest of the wing is dark slatey grey.
Colouration and markings are highly variable from one specimen to another. Fw fringes are mostly black with some white; those on hindwing are mostly white
with a few black patches.
Fw upperside ranges from brown with black borders through brownish gray with paler borders to pale gray with no borders.
Dashes, submarginal line, and cell spot are usually weak.
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.
The upperside of the hindwing is deep yellow in males, pale yellow in females; both with a wide black border.
If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the
They are probably widespread throughout Wisconsin,
but are very much under reported.
The upperside of the forewing has a narrow black subterminal line
bordered by a white inverted V-shaped line on the outside, and a
black line running inwards from the apex of the wing.
It is most often found in montane woodlands and along streamcourses.
the Walnut Sphinx: 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. Patterns range from faint to pronounced.
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,
This large poplar/willow feeder is likely present.
They are a heavy bodied species.
The outer margin of the forewing is quite wavy. There is a dark cell
spot and a dark oblique line mid wing from the costa almost to the
inner margin. Basic ground colour is pinkish brown.
Both sexes rest with wings parallel to the resting surface, with the upper lobes of the hindwings protruding above the forewings. This species ranges
across North America.
The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.
the Cerisyi's Sphinx or One-eyed Sphinx,
Larvae feed on poplars and willows.
Flight would be from late May-July as a single brood.
Closely resembles cerisyi, but jamaicensis is smaller with larger blue patches on more vibrant/deeper
purple in hws. Note complete (outer margin to outer margin) off-white arc just below fw apex. In
cerisyi, lower portion of arc does not return to outer margin.
See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish
the next three species.
the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth,
The moth flies along forest edges and in meadows, gardens and
brushy fields. Day-flying adults nectar at lantana, dwarf bush honeysuckle,
snowberry, orange hawkweed, thistles, lilac, Canada violet, etc.
The Slender Clearwing or Graceful
These moths are diurnal and are most often seen nectaring during the day at flowers. Note the smooth inner edge of the burgundy forewing outer margin and the
reddish upper surface of the legs.
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 is not reported for your county,
but it may be present.
Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.
unlikely, further south in Wisconsin
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.
unlikely, further south in Wisconsin
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.
the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the
Fw upperside is dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with an olive tint, often more green than described.
On the costal margin there is a dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent.
Hw upperside is pale orange.
WO, the Spurge Hawk Moth
The body is light brown with various white and dark brown
markings, while the wings have a conspicuous tan, brown, and pink or
red color pattern.
If this introduced species has not yet established a presence, I expect it will shortly.
the Bedstraw Hawk Moth
or Gallium Sphinx
The forewing is dark brown with a slightly irregular cream-coloured transverse line. The outer margin is grey. There is a bright pink band on the hindwing.
Larvae are fond of Epilobium.
the White-lined Sphinx
Adults usually fly at dusk, during the night, and at dawn, but they
also fly during the day over a wide variety of open habitats
including deserts, suburbs, and gardens.
the 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.