Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 11, 2008
Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Ian Miller, September 11, 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Donald Severson (Hyles euphorbiae, July 8, 2012), via Dan Jackson; July 10, 2012
Updated as per personal communication with Donald Severson (lineata, eremitus, thysbe, diffinis), ongoing
Updated as per personal communication with Ian Miller, February 16, 2013
Updated as per personal communication with Cale Severson (Pacysphinx modesta), June 4, 2017
Updated as per BAMONA website, June 4, 2017

Sphingidae of Trempealeau County,
and ofAdditional Central Wisconsin Counties

Hyles euphorbiae, Ettrick, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin,
July 9, 2012, necataring at bouncing bet, 9:00 pm, courtesy of Don Severson.

Pachysphinx modesta, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin,
June 4, 2017, courtesy of Cale Severson.

Although this page specifically references sightings confirmed in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, it also now (June 5, 2017) serves as a checklist for the following counties in central Indiana which would likely have the same Sphingidae species present:
Adams, Buffalo, Menominee and Pepin (all with none reported);
Calumet: (S. chersis);
Dunn: (A. juglandis, P. modesta, P. myops, E. pandorus, H. lineata, H. diffinis, S. abbottii);
Jackson: (M. quinquemaculatus, E. pandorus, H. lineata);
Juneau: (L. bombycoides, P. myops, P. excaecata, H. diffinis, H. lineata);
Kewaunee: (P. excaecata, S. jamaicensis, Hemaris thysbe);
Manitowoc: (Ceratomia undulosa, Eumorpha pandorus, Hyles lineata, Hemaris diffinis);
Pierce: (S. kalmiae, M.a sexta);
Shawano (P. excaecata, P. occidentalis, more likely modesta);
St. Croix: (P.modesta, C. amyntor, P. myops, H. lineata, E. pandorus, H. thysbe);
Waupaca: (C. amyntor, H. thysbe, D. myron, H. lineata, E. fasciatus);
Waushara: (H. thysbe, H. lineata);
Winnebago: (M. quinquemaculatus, S. chersis, C. undulosa, E. achemon, H. lineata;
Wood: (P. modesta, A. floridensis, D. choerilus, H. diffinis.

Thirty Sphingidae species are listed in the USGS (Now BAMONA) for Wisconsin. Not all of the species are reported (none by USGS as of July 2008) or anticipated (twenty-seven by Bill Oehlke) in Trempealeau County.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Ian Miller who reports finding a female Paonias excaecata in Eleva, July 18, 2008.

Ian has also reported an extensive list of species he has collected in Trempealeau in 2007-2008. Those species followed by IM have been recorded by Ian.

He continues to send me flight data for sightings.

Many thanks also to Don Severson who sends the beautiful images of Hyles euphorbiae above, and Hyles lineata below.

Hyles lineata, Ettrick, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin,
July 9, 2012, necataring at bouncing bet, 9:00 pm, courtesy of Don Severson.

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 Trempealeau 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 on-line resource.

Lintneria eremitus, Ettrick, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin,
July 15, 2012, courtesy of Don Severson.

Don continues to send images and data for many species.

Sphinx kalmiae Ettrick, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin,
August 19, 2017, courtesy of Cale Severson, via Don Severson

You can visit the following pages for more information and images:

Visit: Trempealeau County Sphingidae larvae (caterpillars);
Visit: Wisconsin Catocala (underwing moths);
Visit: Links to Sphingidae checklists for each country in North, Central and South America as well as the Carribean

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor WO/IM, 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 cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia catalpae WO/IM, the 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 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.

Dolba hyloeus WO/IM, the 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.

Dolba hyloeus, July 2012, Ian miller

Lapara bombycoides WO/IM, the Northern Pine Sphinx

This species is not officially reported from Eau Claire.

If you have pines, you probably have this species. It also flies on P.E.I.

Lapara bombycoides, May 2012, Ian Miller

Lintneria eremitus WO/IM/DS, the Hermit Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing is gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or two small white spots near the center of the costa. The upperside of the hindwing is black with two white bands and a triangular black patch at the base. Note the golden hair on the thorax.

Lintneria eremitus, Ettrick, July 15, 2012, courtesy of Don Severson.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO/IM, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

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

Manduca quinquemaculatus, June-September, Ian Miller

Sphinx canadensis WO, Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common, and is not often reported anywhere, but it might be present in Trempealeau County.

Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis WO/IM, 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 chersis, August-September, Ian Miller

Sphinx drupiferarum WO/IM, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

We have them on P.E.I., but I do not see them nearly as frequently as I see the other Sphingidae.

Sphinx gordius WO/IM, the Apple Sphinx

Note the pm line, absent in Sphinx poecila which flies more to the north.

Sphinx gordius, mid June, Ian Miller

Sphinx kalmiae WO/IM/CS, 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 kalmiae, June-July, Ian Miller
Sphinx kalmiae Ettrick, August 19, 2017, Cale Severson

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.

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. See the file for the female; she is different.

Pachysphinx modesta WO/IM, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx. This large poplar/willow feeder is not reported in Trempealeau County, but it is probably present.

They are a heavy bodied species.

Paonias excaecata IM, 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 excaecata female, Eleva, July 18, 2008, Ian Miller

Paonias myops WO/IM, the Small-eyed Sphinx

This small species is confirmed in Trempealeau County by Ian Miller. This species ranges across North America.

The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO/IM, 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/IM, the 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 WO/IM/DS, 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 diffinis, Ettrick, July 15, 2012, Don Severson

Hemaris gracilis WO/IM, Slender Clearwing/Graceful Clearwing. Red bar runs through eye on side of head and upper thorax. Legs reddish in colour on dorsal surfaces.Outer maroon band on fw lacks strong inward projection seen in thysbe. Check out comparison link above to more readily distinguish three Hemaris species.

Hemaris thysbe WO/DS, 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.

Hemaris thysbe, Ettrick, July 15, 2012, Don Severson

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO/IM, the Achemon Sphinx. This moth is not reported for Trempealeau, but it may be present. Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx. unlikely

Eumorpha achemon, quite common, late July-August, Ian Miller

Eumorpha fasciatus stray, Banded Sphinx: Dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. Larvae feed upon primrose-willow, Ludwigia (water primrose) and other plants in the evening primrose family.

Eumorpha pandorus WO/IM, the Pandorus Sphinx

If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you might have this species. I often get asked to identify larvae from areas where they have not previously been reported.

Macroglossini Tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO/IM, 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/IM, the Azalea Sphinx.
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.

Darapsa myron WO/IM, Virginia Creeper Sphinx/Grapevine Sphinx. The forewing upperside is dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with an olive tint. On the costal margin there is a dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent. The upperside of the hindwing is pale orange.

Deidamia inscriptum WO/IM, Lettered Sphinx. The moth's outer margin of the forewing is deeply scalloped. The upperside is light brown with dark brown markings. There is a small black and white spot near the tip. The upperside of the hindwing is orange-brown with a dark brown outer margin and median line.

Deidamia inscriptum, late March-mid April, Ian Miller

Hyles euphorbiae DS, 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.

Hyles euphorbiae, Ettrick, July 8-9, 2012, Donald Severson

Hyles gallii WO, Bedstraw Hawk Moth/Gallium Sphinx. This species is not confirmed in Trempealeau, and it has been recorded in eastern Wisconsin counties and in nearby Eau Claire.
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata WO/IM/DS, 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.

Hyles lineata, Ettrick, July 8-9, 2012, Donald Severson

Sphecodina abbottii WO/IM, the 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.

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