Otsego County

Sphinx luscitiosa, fourth instar, northern Michigan (Otsego County), courtesy of Jonathon Tubbs.

Forty-six Sphingidae species are listed in the USGS for Michigan. Not all of the species are reported (four by USGS: Laurel Sphinx; Clemen's Sphinx; Northern Pine Sphinx; White-lined Sphinx) or anticipated in Otsego County.

Jonathon Tubbs reports seeing ten diffferent species: Five-spotted Hawkmoth, Modest sphinx, Clemen's Sphinx, Waved Sphinx, Elm Sphinx, Wild Cherry Sphinx, Twin-spotted Sphinx, Small-eyed Sphinx, Chersis Sphinx and Cerisy's Sphinx.

I (Bill Oehlke) have added seventeen species which I feel may be present.

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 Otsego County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Jonathon Tubbs who sent me the images of Sphinx luscitiosa larvae, top and bottom of this page. Jonathon also sent me additional sighting reports for those species identified with JT.

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.

Special thanks goes to Alison Sklarczyk (AS) who has sent me data and images for Amorpha juglandis, Pachysphinx modesta, Paonias excaecata and Paonias myops from Gaylord, Otsego County.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor JT, the Elm Sphinx or Four-horned Sphinx:
The fw upperside is brown with dark brown and white markings including white costal area near wing base, dark streaks along veins, and white spot in cell. The hw upperside is light brown and has dark brown band along outer margin. Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and cherry (Prunus).

Ceratomia undulosa JT, the Waved Sphinx
The fw upperside is pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot. The hw upperside is gray with diffuse darker bands. Some individuals are very dark, almost black, and others are light yellowish brown.

Lapara bombycoides USGS, the Northern Pine Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is gray with heavy black bands. The upperside of the hindwing is brownish gray with no markings. The underside is rather plain.

Manduca quinquemaculatus JT, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

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

Fifth instar larva find in tomato garden, August 10-13, Jonathon Tubbs

Manduca sexta WO/JT, the Carolina Sphinx

This species was not recorded in Otsego (now confirmed by Jonathon Tubbs). It is a strong migrant, however. If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it.

Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

Fifth instar larva find in tomato garden, August 10-13, Jonathon Tubbs

Sphinx canadensis WO, Sphinx canadensis, the Canadian Sphinx, is not common. The absence of white spot on each forewing and more brownish coloration serve to separate S. canadensis from S. poecilus. Hw fringe also tends to be white on poecilus and checkered brownish on canadensis. Larval hosts are white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry (Vaccinium).

Sphinx chersis JT, 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 JT, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

The grey costa and terminal area along the fw outer margin are in contrast to the remainder of the darker, slatey grey forewing.

Lintneria eremitus WO, the Hermit Sphinx:
The fw upperside is gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or two small white spots near center of 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.

Sphinx kalmiae USGS, 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 luscitiosa JT/USGSZVL, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx: 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 border.

Sphinx luscitiosa, Vanderbilt, July 2, 2006, Zak Van Loocke

Sphinx poecila WO, the Poecila Sphinx

If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the Poecila Sphinx.

They are pretty widespread throughout Michigan.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Amorpha juglandis WO/AS, 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.

Amorpha juglandis, Gaylord, July 10, 2008, courtesy of Alison Sklarczyk.

Paonias excaecata WO/AS, 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, Gaylord, July 7, 9, 12, 2008, courtesy of Alison Sklarczyk.

Paonias myops JT/AS, the Small-eyed Sphinx

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.

Paonias myops, Gaylord, July 11, 2007, courtesy of Alison Sklarczyk.

Pachysphinx modesta JT/AS, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,

This large poplar/willow feeder is reported in Oakland County.

They are a heavy bodied species.

Pachysphinx modesta, Gaylord, July 12, 2008, courtesy of Alison Sklarczyk.

Smerinthus cerisyi JT, 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. It is reported by Jonathan Tubbs.

Smerinthus jamaicensis JT, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

This moth is widely distributed and fairly common, and it is recorded in Otsego.

Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.

Adult, August 10, Jonathon Tubbs

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

Hemaris diffinis 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.

Hemaris gracilis WO, The Slender Clearwing or Graceful Clearwing

This day flier is not commonly reported, but is probably present in Otsego.

Hemaris thysbe WO, the Hummingbird Clearwing

This interesting day flier is not confirmed for Otsego, but is reported in neighbouring counties. They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is not reported for Otsego, but it may be present.
Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.

Eumorpha pandorus WO, 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.

Macroglossini Tribe:

Amphion floridensis WO, 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, the Azalea Sphinx

They are common in New Jersey and common here on Prince Edward Island.

You will often see this species listed as Darapsa pholus, especially in older literature.

Darapsa myron WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the Grapevine Sphinx
This moth is not recorded on the U.S.G.S. site for Otsego County. It is widely reported in southern Michigan and in southern Ontario. If you have the foodplants indicated in the common names, you probably have this species nearby.

Deidamia inscriptum WO, the Lettered Sphinx

This species has not been recorded in Otsego.

It is seen in southern Ontario, however, and in central and southern Michigan.

Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This species is not reported in Otsego, but it has been recorded in Michigan counties north and south. I suspect it is present.
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.

Hyles lineata JT/USGS, 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 (fresh at light), August 25, 2005, Jonathon Tubbs

Sphecodina abbottii WO, 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.

Sphinx luscitiosa, fifth instar, northern Michigan (Otsego County), courtesy of Jonathon Tubbs.

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