Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 20, 2011
Updated as per BAMONA, September 20, 2011

Price County, Wisconsin
Sphingidae

Thirty-two Sphingidae species are listed on the BAMONA website for Wisconsin as of September 20, 2011. Not all of the species are reported (None are reported by BAMONA as of September 20, 2011) or anticipated (thirty-one by Bill Oehlke) in Price County.

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

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 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.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor WO, 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 cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia undulosa WO, the 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.

Lapara bombycoides WO, the 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. The underside is rather plain.

Lintneria eremitus, WO, the 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).

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens (potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.

Sphinx canadensis WO, Canadian Sphinx is not common, and is often unreported. 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 (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis 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.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

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.

Sphinx gordius WO, Apple Sphinx: 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.

Sphinx kalmiae WO, the 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 WO, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx: 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.

Sphinx poecila, WO, the 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, the 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 WO, 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.

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,

This large poplar/willow feeder is likely present.

They are a heavy bodied species.

Paonias excaecata WO, the 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 WO, the Small-eyed Sphinx

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.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, 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.

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, the Twin-spotted Sphinx: 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.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini Tribe:

See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish the next three species.

Hemaris diffinis WO, 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.

Hemaris gracilis WO, The Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing

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.

Hemaris thysbe WO, 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.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

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

Eumorpha pandorus WO, the 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. unlikely, further south in Wisconsin

Macroglossini Tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO, the 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.

Darapsa choerilus, WO, the 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 WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx: 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.

Hyles euphorbiae 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.

Hyles gallii WO, 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.

Hyles lineata WO, 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.

Sphecodina abbottii WO, 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.

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