Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Cristina J. Sheats, Cheyenne, Wyoming, August 27, 2010
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 27, 2010
Updated as per Butterflies and Moths of North America, formerly USGS, August 27, 2010
Updated as per psersonal communication with Dawn Carroll (Manduca quinquemaculatus pupa; September 27, 2015); September 28, 2015

Laramie County, Wyoming
Sphingidae Larvae

Eumorpha achemon fifth instar, Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming,
August 27, 2010, courtesy of Cristina J. Sheats.

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. I do not have confirmed reports of all of these species in Laramie County, but I (WO) expect they are present.

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

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Cristina J. Sheats of Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming, for her interest in lepidoptera.

Cristina also provides the images of a Eumorpha achemon larva at top and bottom of this page, and she has confirmed Hyles lineata in Laramie County.

Cristina writes, "We live in Cheyenne, Wyoming, North America. We found this guy crawling across some broken bricks near the parking lot at my children's school today. There were Four-O-Clocks about 5-6 ft from his location (across dirt and gravel) and another kind of plant in the other direction (same inbetween terrain), but he doesn't seem interested in eating either of them. The Four-O-Clocks are looking a bit stressed because of their dry, sunny location (they are not in a garden, but just "weeds" growing along a wall) but I don't know how much caterpillars care about that sort of thing.

"As you can see in the pictures he's relatively big... nearly 3 inches. His most distinctive features are the white squiggly slashes on his sides and the "cat's eye" mark on his tail. As you can see in the picture, the "cat's eye" marking is flush with his skin, but it is hard like a little button. We have found White-lined Sphinx Moth larva in these Four-O-Clocks in the past, but they've always been of the green or green and black varity. I've searched every caterpillar site I can find, but no one has one - brown, hairless, white slashes, no protrusions - like him that I can find. I wondered if that button could be a broken horn, but I can't even find one with a tail horn that matches his description.

I'll be glad to answer any questions that I can. We were hoping to make a habitat and keep him til he turns, but if we can't figure out what he is or what he eats, that won't be possible. We are hoping you can help."

I replied, "It is Eumorpha achemon, the Achemon Sphinx caterpillar. It was probably feeding on a grape or virginia creeper vine and is done feeding now and would be looking for a place to pupate. Put it in a sandwich sized tupperware type container with a folded paper towel in bottom. After a couple of hours it will crawl under towel and begin pupation process which may take up to five days. It will shrink considerably during this process and legs will get quite stumpy. You will think it is dying, but that is all part of the process.

I already have created a Laramie County pictoral checklist for adult Sphingidae at I would like permission to post your images of Eumorpha achemon, credited to you, on a pictoral checklist I will create for Sphingidae larvae. You can access more pictures and info from the link above."

Many thanks to Dawn Carroll who unearthed a Manduca pupa in a potato field in Hillsdale. It might be Manduca sexta, but I favour Manduca quinquemaculatus which has been documented as feeding on potato foliage.

Manduca quinquemaculatus pupa, Hillsdale, Laramie County, Wyoming,
September 27, 2015, courtesy of Dawn Carroll, tentative id by Bill Oehlke.

As of August 27, 2010, four Sphingidae species are confirmed on the USGS website for Laramie County: Achemon sphinx (Eumorpha achemon); White-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata); Pachylioides resumens (Pachylioides resumens), doubtless a wind assisted stray from further south; and Juanita sphinx (Proserpinus juanita). I have added many species which I anticipate are likely also present with breeding populations in Laramie County. I do not expect that Pachylioides resumens has breeding populations in Wyoming.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini Tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor WO, the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx

Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus). There are both green and brown forms. The four horns near the head are diagnostic.

Ceratomia undulosa WO, the Waved Sphinx

Note the pinkish-orange tail, spiracles outlined in red and the cream stripes on the head.
The dramatic color change from the dorsal yellow-green to the lateral light greyish-blue is not always as intense as in this image.

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth
The caterpillars are called Tomato Hornworms and each has a black horn at the end of the abdomen. There are brown forms as well as green ones. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Manduca sexta WO, the Carolina Sphinx

Note the red horn and black dots anterior to the white oblique lines.

If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it. Emily Balsley found one on her pepper plants.

Sphinx chersis WO, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx: The larvae are pale bluish green. The head has a pair of yellow lateral bands meeting at the apex. The oblique, lateral stripes are pale and bordered anteriorly with a darker green. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

Larvae hide in the day and feed primarily on cherry, plum, and apple at night. Larvae have been found on Amelanchier nantuckensis in Massachusetts and have been reared to pupation in Michigan on Prunus serotina. Note purple oblique lines.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx

This one is reported from Richmond and from northeastern New Jersey into southern Canada.

Sphinx vashti WO, the Snowberry Sphinx

Larvae feed on the common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and on coralberry (S. orbiculatus).

Note the two golden lines of slightly raised bumps, one just behind the head, the other on the thorax.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx modesta WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
This moth is not officially recorded in Laramie County. It is fond of poplars and willows.

Pachysphinx occidentalis WO, the Big Poplar Sphinx

Larvae feed on cottonwood and poplar (Populus) and willow (Salix).

Larvae are very chunky with little to distinguish them from Pachysphinx modesta.

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, the Small-eyed Sphinx

Wild cherry species are the favorites as larval foodplants, but eggs will also be deposited on birches and other forest trees.

There are varying degrees in the amount of red markings along the sides.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, Cerisy's Sphinx; Cerisyi larvae greatly resemble modesta larvae, both being pale green, with granular skin, pale lateral diagonal lines, faint red spiracular circles, and very pale longitudinal lines running from the head to a more pronounced anal diagonal line. Larvae have green heads bounded dorsally with a pale yellow inverted "V".

Smerinthus jamaicensis WO, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

Larvae feed upon many forest trees including birches and cherries, but are expecially fond of poplars and willows. Red markings on sides vary greatly from specimen to specimen.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe

Hemaris thysbe WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing

There is also an orangey-pink prepupal form. The lateral line runs from S1 to the blue horn.

Hemaris thysbe larvae feed on viburnum and related plants.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon CJS/USGS, the Achemon Sphinx

Larvae feed upon 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 achemon larvae, Cheyenne, August 27, 2010, courtesy of Cristina J. Sheats.

Macroglossini Tribe

Amphion floridensis WO, the 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 myron WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx

If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby. The lower wings are orange. Larvae feed on Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Grape (Vitis), Ampelopsis, and Viburnum.

Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

Larvae come in black and in brown forms and often feed on Epilobium (fireweed).

Hyles lineata CJS/USGS, the White-lined Sphinx

Larvae are highly varied and feed on a great diversity of plants including willow weed (Epilobium), four o'clock (Mirabilis), apple (Malus), evening primrose (Oenothera), elm (Ulmus), grape (Vitis), tomato (Lycopersicon), purslane (Portulaca), and Fuschia.
All larvae seem, however, to have the red/black swellings split by dorso-lateral lines.

Hyles lineata larvae, Cheyenne, 2008, courtesy of Cristina J. Sheats.

Proserpinus juanita USGS, the Juanita Sphinx

Newly-hatched caterpillars eat their eggshells. Larvae feed on (Onagraceae) including evening primrose (Oenothera), gaura (Gaura), and willow weed (Epilobium).

Michael Van Buskirk has found them on Guara biennis in Missouri. rare

Eumorpha achemon fifth instar, Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming,
August 27, 2010, courtesy of Cristina J. Sheats.

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 within the US.

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