Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, December 4, 2010
Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Janet Voth, October 6, 2010; December 4, 2010
Updated as per Butterflies and Moths of North America, formerly USGS, , December 4, 2010
Harvey County, Kansas
Agrius cingulata, Newton, Harvey County, Kansas,
October 4, 2010, found by Jonathan Baloo, photo by Janet Voth.
This page is inspired by and dedicated to
Janet Voth and her grandson Jonathan Baloo. Jonathan found the moth; it was photographed and sent to me by Janet Voth.
Janet writes, October 4, 2010, "My grandson Jonathan Baloo found this moth on the side of a brick building on the edge of town in Newton,
KS (Harvey County) on October 4, 2010. He brought it home and it was placed in a clear plastic cup. The picture was taken with the moth in the cup.
The moth is still alive, but has not been released. I have tentatively identified it as Agrius cingulata."
Twenty-two Sphingidae species are listed for Kansas on the U.S.G.S.
website. None of the species are officially recorded in
Harvey County in southeastern Kansas on USGS as of December 4, 2010.
It is hoped
that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you
quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.
I have added some species that were not recorded on the USGS list.
indicates the moth is not reported on the USGS website and/or in
Lepidoptera of North America, #1, but I (William Oehlke) suspect
it is likely present.
Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy
by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an
electronic image, via email to
Agrius cingulata, Newton, October 4, 2010, Janet Voth and Jonathan Baloo.
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). 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.
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.
The upperside of the forewing is pale gray with a yellowish tint,
wavy black lines and dashes, and inconspicuous white spots.
I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter Manduca quinquemaculatus.
If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered Manduca sexta
in the larval stage.
Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.
The upperside of the forewing is gray with indistinct black and
white markings. There is a series of black dashes
from the base to the tip, and a small white cell spot.
WO, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash
This species is probably present in Cowley County.
Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.
This species is not officially recorded, but I suspect it is
present. We have them on P.E.I., but I do not see them nearly as frequently
as I see the other Sphingidae.
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.
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.
See the file for the female; she is different.
WO very questionable,
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx
They are common on Prince Edward Island, but are not often reported
Named for the dull grey-blue spot (minus dark pupil) in the hindwing,
this moth has a wide distribution in the eastern United States.
I regularly see them on Prince Edward Island, and they are reported
as far south as Florida.
This small species is probably widespread and common. This species ranges across North America.
The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.
This moth is widely distributed and fairly common
in much of its range.
Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.
Erinnyis obscura, the Obscure Sphinx,
During the night adults nectar at flowers, including bouncing bet
(Saponaria officinalis) and Asystasia gangetica beginning at dusk.
July and August are flight times in the southern states.
unlikely, but possible stray
Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to
brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to
dark greenish-brown. The abdomen tends to be dark (black) with 1-2
yellow segments before the tip.
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.
Larvae get large and feed on grape vines and Virginia creeper.
Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.
If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have
I often get asked to identify larvae from areas not
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 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.
WO? generally more easterly,
the 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.
Grape (Vitis), ampelopsis (Ampelopsis), and Virginia creeper
(Parthenocissus) all serve as larval hosts.
WO, the White-lined Sphinx
This species has
strong migrating tendancies from much further south.
There are records from New Hampshire and Maine.
The upperside of the forewing is pale gray-green with a deep
green-brown median area and a white dash at the wing tip.
WO? generally more easterly,
the Abbott's Sphinx
This moth is very much under reported across the United States. It
is a rapid day flier so is probably not in too many collections.
Grape is a popular larval host.
The upperside of the forewing is pale brown with lavender-gray at the base and
has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout.
This moth is a strong migrant.
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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