Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Dan Zieher, (Hyles euphorbiae, September 24, 2013) September 25, 2013
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 25, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA, September 25, 2013

Portage County, Wisconsin
Sphingidae Larvae

Hyles euphorbiae larva, Stevens Point, Portage County, Wisconsin,
September 24, 2013, courtesy of Dan Zieher.

For care of "found larvae/caterpillars" visit Manduca sexta larva, Travis County, central Texas, August 21, 2008, Trina Woodall.

Thirty-five Sphingidae species are listed on BAMONA for Wisconsin as of September 25, 2013. Not all of the species are reported (five by BAMONA as of September 25, 2013) or anticipated (thirty-two by Bill Oehlke) in Portage County.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Dan Zieher of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, who sent me the Hyles euphorbiae image, top of this page.

Dan writes, "Just a thought: I have found several caterpillars of what appears to be Hyles euphorbia in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Enclosed is a picture of one of the cats."

I reply: "Thanks, Dan. Yes, it is Hyles euphorbiae. This introduced species (to try to control spread of leafy spurge) has been steadily expanding its range."

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

A WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in Portage County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this species is 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.

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

Visit Portage County Sphingidae: Adult Moths.

Visit Catocala: Underwing Moths.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor WO, Elm Sphinx, Four-horned Sphinx: Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), cherry (Prunus). Both pale green and brown forms. Four horns near head are diagnostic.

Ceratomia undulosa WO, Waved Sphinx: Fraxinus, Ligustrum, Quercus, Crataegus, Chionanthus virginicus. In fifth instar, spiracular ovals decidedly red, anal horn off-white to pinkish laterally.

Dolba hyloeus WO, Pawpaw Sphinx: Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), littleleaf sweetfern (Myrica aspleniifolia), possum haw (Ilex decidua), inkberry (Ilex glabra), Tall Gallberry Holly (Ilex coriacea).

Lapara bombycoides WO, Northern Pine Sphinx: This caterpillar is also without the anal horn and feeds on pines. The long stripes and reddish brown afford great camouflage.

Lintneria eremitus WO, Hermit Sphinx: Note triangular bump on the thorax. Beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis), and sage (Salvia).

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: Tomato Hornworms: black horn at end of abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, other plants in nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Sphinx canadensis WO, Canadian Sphinx: uncommon, rarely reported anywhere. White ash (Fraxinus americana) blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis WO, Northern Ash Sphinx, Great Ash Sphinx: Pale bluish green. Head: pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at apex. Oblique, lateral stripes: pale, bordered anteriorly with darker green. Ash, lilac, privet, cherry, quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, Wild Cherry Sphinx: Larvae hide by day, feed primarily on cherry, plum, apple at night. Amelanchier nantuckensis in Massachusetts, Michigan on Prunus serotina. Note purple oblique lines.

Sphinx gordius WO, Apple Sphinx: Apple (Malus), sweetfern (Myrica), Carolina rose (Rosa carolina), blueberry and huckleberry (Vaccinium), white spruce (Picea glauca), American larch (Larix laricina), alder (Alnus).

Sphinx kalmiae BAMONA, Laurel Sphinx: In the final instar, black on head, lateral lines, horn, abdominal legs is diagnostic. Lilac and fringe.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, Canadian Sphinx, Clemen's Sphinx: Larval hosts are willow (Salix), poplar (Populus), birch (Betula), apple (Malus), ash (Fraxinus), waxmyrtle (Morella), and northern bayberry.

Sphinx poecila WO, 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.

Sphinx vashti WO, Snowberry Sphinx: Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and on coralberry (S. orbiculatus). Note two golden lines of slightly raised bumps, one just behind the head, the other on the thorax.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO, Walnut Sphinx: Walnut and butternut (Juglans), hickory (Carya), alder (Alnus), beech (Fagus), hazelnut (Corylus), hop-hornbeam (Ostrya).

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx

Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood.

Paonias excaecata WO, the Blinded Sphinx

Larvae accept willows, birches, and cherries. I have also found them in the wild on oak in eastern Canada.

Paonias myops WO, Small-eyed Sphinx: Wild cherry species favorites as larval foodplants, but eggs will also be deposited on birches, other forest trees. There are varying degrees in the amount of red markings along the sides.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, Cerisy's Sphinx; Pale green, granular skin, pale lateral diagonal lines, faint red spiracular circles, very pale longitudinal lines running from head to more pronounced anal diagonal line. Green heads bounded dorsally with pale yellow inverted V.

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, Twin-spotted Sphinx: Birches, cherries, especially fond of poplars, willows. Red markings on sides vary greatly.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini Tribe:

Hemaris diffinis WO, Snowberry Clearwing: Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, Blue Dogbane (Apocynum), dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera). Horn black, yellow base.

Hemaris gracilis WO, Slender Clearwing, Graceful Clearwing: Blueberries, low bush blueberry (Vaccinium vacillans), laurel (Kalmia), in heath family (Ericaceae).

Hemaris thysbe BAMONA, Hummingbird Clearwing: An orangey-pink prepupal form. Lateral line runs from S1 to blue horn. Viburnum, related plants.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, Achemon Sphinx: Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and other vines and ivies (Ampelopsis). Larvae occur in both a light (green) form and a darker (tan/brown) form. Note six "segmented" oblique lines.

Eumorpha pandorus WO, Pandorus Sphinx: If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you might encounter pandorus. Note five large white ovals. Orangey-brown , green forms also. questionable

Macroglossini Tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO, Nessus Sphinix: In additon to Virginia creeper larvae accept Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and cayenne pepper (Capsicum). Larvae are green until the final instar.

Darapsa choerilus WO, Azalea Sphinx: Azalea, Viburnum; progress very rapidly. Larva, left, on Viburnum cassinoides: getting ready to pupate. Color change from green to light burgundy-brown indicates pupation imminent.

Darapsa myron WO, Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Grapevine Sphinx: If you have the foodplants indicated in common names, you probably myron. Lower wings: orange. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, Viburnum.

Deidamia inscriptum BAMONA, Lettered Sphinx: Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus). Alternating yellow and greyish-green rings across back.

Hyles euphorbiae DZ, Leafy Spurge Hawk Moth: Leafy spurge. Brightly colored, pronounced "horn" near rear end. Young larvae patterned with green, yellow, black; older larvae: distinctive red, black, yellow, white color pattern. Approach 10 cm in length; when disturbed, regurgitate slimy green liquid.

Hyles euphorbiae, Stevens Point, September 24, 2013, Dan Zieher.

Hyles gallii WO, Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx: Larvae come in black and in brown forms and often feed on Epilobium (fireweed).

Hyles lineata BAMONA, White-lined Sphinx: Highly varied. Willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), Fuschia. Red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Sphecodina abbottii BAMONA, Abbott's Sphinx: Larvae feed at night on grape (Vitis, ampelopsis (Ampelopsis); hide on the bark by day. Virginia creeper. Also dark form without green patches. Note "raised eye", replacing anal horn.

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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