WO Pink-spotted hawkmoth,
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). Might be present as a rare stray.
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.
Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and
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.
Hagen's Sphinx or 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. Generally more southerly, but a possibility.
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 forewing is gray with heavy black bands.
The upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings.
If you have pines, you
probably have this species. It also flies on P.E.I.
Sphinx eremitus WO, the
Fw upperside: gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, one or two small white spots near center of costa.
Hw upperside: black with two white bands and 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.
WO, the Carolina Sphinx.
Abdomen usually has six pairs of yellow bands, broken across back. Sixth set quite small.
Fw upperside: indistinct black, brown, and white markings.
Hw upperside: banded with black and white; two black zigzag median lines very close together with hardly any white showing between them.
Fw fringes: spotted with white.
Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not
often reported anywhere.
Absence of white spot on each forewing and more brownish coloration serve to separate canadensis from S. poecilus.
Hw fringe tends to be white on poecilus and checkered brownish on canadensis.
Larval hosts are 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.
Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the
moth is at rest. Larvae are beautiful and feed on cherry foliage.
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.
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 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
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.
Snowberry Sphinx adults fly as a single brood in montane woodlands and along prairie
streamcourses from April to August.
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 at the apex.
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.
See the file for the female; she is different.
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,
This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump.
Larvae feed on poplars and willows.
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.
species ranges across North America.
The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a
WO, the Cerisyi's
Sphinx or One-eyed Sphinx.
The fw outer margin is more irregular than in S. jamaicensis. Larvae feed on poplars and willows.
Flight would be from early May-July as a single brood. Note incomplete "C" on right forewing apex.
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. Note complete "C" on right forewing apex.
See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish
the next three species.
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.
WO, The Slender Clearwing or Graceful
This day flier is not commonly reported, but it should be present.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The lower wings of this hawkmoth are a solid brownish-orange, matching the body colour.
You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus,
especially in older literature.
WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the
Fw upperside: dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with an olive tint, sometimes quite green.
On the costal margin there is a dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent. Hw upperside: pale orange.
the Lettered Sphinx.
The forewing outer margin of this early spring flier is deeply scalloped.
The upperside is light brown with dark brown markings and
a small black and white spot near wing tip.
The upperside of the hindwing is orange-brown with a dark brown outer
margin and median line.
Males rest with a strong curve to the abdomen.
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.
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.
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.