Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Jennie Sisler, June 20, 2011
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, June 20, 2011

Worcester County, Maryland
Sphingidae

Eumorpha pandorus, Ocean City, Worcester County, Maryland,
June 20, 2011, courtesy of Jennie Sisler.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Jennie Sisler, who sent me the Eumorpha pandorus images, top of this page and below.

Jennie wrote, "Good evening! I just wanted to send along two photos of an Oleander Hawk moth I saw at my condo in Ocean City, Maryland last week. He stayed around for a couple of days and then departed. I was so afraid he was dead (I called him "Army Strong" because of the camouflage) because he wasn't moving an inch, but then we woke up one morning and he was gone. Thank goodness! I don't know what possesed me to google "camouflage moth" but I did and found your site. What I'm wondering is how on earth a moth native to the Middle East, Asia and Africa ended up on the eastern shore. The wonders of nature will never cease I guess."

I replied, "I have not looked at the enlarged version of your moths yet, but it is not an Oleander Hawk Moth; it is one of the Eumorpha species, probably Eumorpha pandorus. I will have a closer look tomorrow. I would like permission to post images, credited to you, to a webpage? You are correct, the Oleander hawk moth does not fly in US.

Jennie gave permission to post the image and made the following request: "Could you tell me the difference between the two? I've looked at both, and I swear I can't really tell the difference. Well, except for the fact that the oleander hawk moth isn't native to North America."

The following day I received another picture of an Eumorpha pandorus from northern Kentucky. This one was also incorrectly identified as an Oleander Hawk Moth. Almost every year I get one or two images of pandorus sent to me by someone in US wondering what the Oleander Hawk Moth is doing in their back yard. I am posting an image of an Oleander Hawk Moth which is known from Europe, Asia, northern Africa and Hawaii, so you can see the differences.

Oleander Hawk Moth, (Deipephila nerii), Maui, Hawaii, February 2008, courtesy of Sean Demarre.

Eumorpha pandorus, Ocean City, Worcester County, Maryland,
June 20, 2011, courtesy of Jennie Sisler.

These words will probably mean nothing to one who does not study Sphingidae, but here are some of the forewing features of Eumorpha pandorus (1-5a) not found on Daphnis nerii or vice-versa (5b):
1) dark apical trapezoid emanating from the costa;
2) very distinct small dark cell mark;
3) thin pinkish-orange arc along vein from just below cell mark to outer margin;
4) series of median area lines emanating from the costa;
5a) upper portion of the basal area plain, without the 5b) large dark green patch emanating from the costa in nerii.

Lower portions of the abdomens are also very different in the two species. Note dark center stripe on thorax of pandorus.

It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

A Worcester County thumbnail checklist for Sphingidae larvae is available at Worcester County thumbnail checklist for Sphingidae larvae.

Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an electronic image, via email to Bill Oehlke.

Please also send your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, Pink-spotted hawkmoth, EK/JK.

This moth is a very strong flier. There are very few records for Maryland. It is generally a more southerly species, but it is known to breed in southern Maryland.

Agrius cingulata, Ocean City, September 19, 2011, Eric and Jerome Klun

Ceratomia amyntor, 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, 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, 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.
It is named for the wavy lines on the forewings.

Dolba hyloeus, 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.

Lapara coniferarum, the Southern Pine Sphinx

The upperside is of the forewing is gray with two (sometimes one or three) black dashes near the wing center; other markings are usually diffuse. The upperside of the hindwing is a uniform brown-gray.

Lintneria eremitus, 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.
Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis), and sage (Salvia).

Manduca jasminearum, the Ash Sphinx

The upperside of forewing is gray to grayish brown with a black line running from the middle of the costa to the middle of the outer margin; the line may be broken near the margin. There is a splash of brown around the cell spot.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth
The moth abdomen usually has five but sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. The upperside of the forewing is blurry brown and gray. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca rustica, the Rustic Sphinx

The abdomen of the adult moth has three pairs of yellow spots. The upperside of the forewing is yellowish brown to deep chocolate brown with a dusting of white scales and zigzagged black and white lines. unlikely possibility

Manduca sexta, the Carolina Sphinx

The abdomen usually has six pairs of yellow bands, broken across the back. The sixth set of markings is quite small. The upperside of the forewing has indistinct black, brown, and white markings. If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it, though.

Paratrea plebeja, the Plebeian Sphinx

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.

Sphinx chersis, 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, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth is at rest.

Sphinx franckii, Franck's Sphinx Moth

The outer margins of the forewings are slightly concave in the male, but not in the female. The costal half of the forewings are grey, but the posterior portion is a distinctive warm yellowish-brown.

Sphinx gordius, the Apple Sphinx

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.

Sphinx kalmiae, 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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis, 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. See the file for the female; she is different.

Paonias astylus, the Huckleberry Sphinx

Both sexes rest with wings parallel to the resting surface, with the upper lobes of the hindwings protruding above the forewings. The lower abdomen of the male arcs upward toward the head, while the abdomen of the female hangs strait down on a vertical surface.

Paonias excaecata, 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.

Paonias myops, the Small-eyed Sphinx

Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution. Both sexes rest with wings parallel to the resting surface, with the upper lobes of the hindwings protruding above the forewings.

Smerinthus jamaicensis, 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 thysbe, 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 diffinis, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth
Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable, both geographically and seasonally. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to dark greenish-brown.

Hemaris gracilis, the Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing
Hemaris gracilis is distinguished from similar species by a pair of red-brown bands on the undersides of the thorax, which varies from green to yellow-green dorsally and sometimes brown with white underneath. They have a red abdomen. unlikely

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is fairly often reported along the coast from southern New Jersey to central Maine, as well as from further south. Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

Eumorpha fasciatus, the Banded Sphinx
The upperside of the moth is 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 JS, the Pandorus Sphinx

If you have Grape or Virginia Creeper nearby, then you probably have this species.

Eumorpha pandorus, Ocean City, June 20, 2011, Jennie Sisler.

Macroglossini tribe:

Amphion floridensis, 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, 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.
They are common in Hunterdon County.

Darapsa myron, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the 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.

Darapsa versicolor, the Hydrangea Sphinx

If you have hydrangea growing near a stream, then you may have the Hydrangea Sphinx.
The forewing upperside is often greenish brown with curved dark lines and pinkish-white patches.

Deidamia inscriptum, 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

Hyles lineata, the White-lined Sphinx

The forewing upperside is dark olive brown with paler brown along the costa and outer margin, a narrow tan band running from the wing tip to the base, and white streaks along the veins.

Sphecodina abbottii, 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 and Virginia Creeper are popular larval hosts.

Xylophanes tersa, the Tersa Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is pale brown with lavender-gray at the base and has dark brown lengthwise lines throughout. The upperside of the hindwing is dark brown with a band of whitish, wedge-shaped marks.

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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