Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 18, 2011
Updated as per BAMONA, August 31, 2014

Jefferson County, Wisconsin
Sphingidae

Thirty-six Sphingidae species are listed on BAMONA as of August 31, 2014. Not all of the species are reported (two by BAMONA as of August 31, 2014: Hemaris diffinis; Hemaris thysbe) or anticipated (thirty-five by Bill Oehlke) in Jefferson County.

It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the species you have encountered.

I have added many species for which I have no confirmed reports, but I (William Oehlke) expect that these species are present.

Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an image, via email to Bill Oehlke.

Visit Jefferson County Sphingidae Larvae: Caterpillars; Hornworms

Visit Wisconsin Catocala: Underwing Moths

If you are travelling, you can find active Sphingidae checklists for all countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbbean via the links at North, Central, South American Sphingidae checklists

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, Pink-spotted hawkmoth, stray. This species is a strong migrant and adults nectar from deep-throated flowers including moonflower (Calonyction aculeatum), morning glory (Convolvulus), honey suckle (Lonicera) and petunia (Petunia species).

Ceratomia amyntor, Elm Sphinx; 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 cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia catalpae, Catalpa Sphinx. The upperside of the forewing is yellowish brown with no white markings, but there are indistinct black lines and dashes. The cell spot is gray with a black outline. The larvae feed in large groups and are much more spectacular than the moths.
Catalpa is the larval host.

Ceratomia hageni, Hagen's Sphinx; Osage Orange Sphinx. The upperside of the forewing is gray with a green tint and has dark indistinct wavy lines, and pale gray patches at the wing tip and along the costa.

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.

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. If you have pines, you might have this species (generally more northerly). It also flies on P.E.I.

Lintneria eremitus, Hermit Sphinx. Generally this species is not widely reported. Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis), and sage (Salvia).

Manduca quinquemaculata, Five-spotted Hawkmoth. This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens (potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found. possibility

Manduca sexta, Carolina Sphinx. If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it, though. Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant. only in southern Wisconsin

Sphinx canadensis, Sphinx canadensis, Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it has been seen in Sheboygan County just to the north. Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis, Northern Ash Sphinx; 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.

Sphinx drupiferarum, Wild Cherry Sphinx.

Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth is at rest. Larvae are beautiful and feed on cherry foliage.

Sphinx gordius, Apple Sphinx. The upperside of the forewing 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.

Sphinx kalmiae, Laurel Sphinx. 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.

Sphinx luscitiosa , Canadian Sphinx; Clemen's Sphinx: The fw upperside is yellowish gray in males and pale gray with faint yellow tint in females (left). The dark border on the outer margin widens as it approaches inner margin. Hw upperside is deep yellow in males, pale yellow in females with wide black border.

Sphinx poecila, Poecila Sphinx. If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the Poecila Sphinx.

They are probably widespread throughout Wisconsin, but are very much under reported. (generally more northerly)

Sphinx vashti, Snowberry Sphinx. 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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis, 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. The female is different.

Pachysphinx modesta, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx. They are a heavy bodied species.

Paonias excaecata, Blinded Sphinx. 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.

Flight would be June-July.

Paonias myops, Small-eyed Sphinx. This small species is probably in your county. This species ranges across North America. The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.

Smerinthus cerisyi, Cerisyi's Sphinx; or One-eyed Sphinx. Larvae feed on poplars and willows. Flight would be from late May-July as a single brood. This one is very questionable.

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.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini Tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris diffinis, Snowberry Clearwing; 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.

Hemaris gracilis, Slender Clearwing; Graceful Clearwing. This day flier is not commonly reported, but it might be present in your county. Generally it is reported more to the east. unlikely

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). Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

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 Sphinx. This day flier is widely distributed. If you have Virginia Creeper, you might have the Nessus Sphinx.

Two bright, distinct, narrow yellow bands are often visible on the abdomen.

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.

Darapsa myron, Virginia Creeper Sphinx; Grapevine Sphinx. It is widely reported in southern Michigan and in southern Ontario. It is likely present.

Darapsa versicolor, Hydrangea Sphinx. If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have the Hydrangea Sphinx.

Deidamia inscriptum, Lettered Sphinx. Fw outer margin of this early spring flier deeply scalloped. Light brown with dark brown markings, small black and white spot near wing tip. Hw upperside orange-brown with dark brown outer margin and median line. Males rest with strong arc in abdomen.

Hyles gallii, Bedstraw Hawk Moth; Gallium Sphinx. This species is not reported in Waukesha, but it has been recorded in other eastern Wisconsin counties. I suspect it is present. Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata, 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.

Sphecodina abbottii, Abbott's Sphinx. This moth is very much under reported on USGS. 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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