Created/dedicated as per personal communication with Greg Volkman (Manduca quinquemaculatus, Rufus, Ocotber 5); October 5, 2012
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, October 5, 2012
Updated as per BAMONA, October 5, 2012

Sherman County, Oregon
Sphingidae Larvae

Manduca quinquemaculatus fifth instar, Rufus, Sherman County, Oregon,
October 5 2012, courtesy of Greg Volkman, id by Bill Oehlke

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Greg Volkman who provides the Manduca quinquemaculatus at top of page. Greg also asks some good questions: "I am curious if you can identify this caterpillar. It is the only one of its kind I have found. I am leaving it be as the frost will probably terminate the plants in the next week or two anyway.

"Will it pupate above or below ground? If above and I go to move the plants is there a way to better facilitate its survival?"

I reply, "Usually larvae of this species are green, but the odd dark one does turn up. It is Manduca quinquemaculatus, one of the Sphingidae.

"I wish permission to post image, credited to you, to a webpage?

"Normally this species pupates underground, but if you just put it in a plastic tub, lid on tight, no air holes, with a folded piece of paper towel in the tub, it will eventually crawl under the towel and pupate without soil. I will provide further details on site."

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

Only twenty-three Sphingidae species are listed for Oregon on the U.S.G.S. website (now BAMONA. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Sherman County (Five species are reported on BAMONA as of October 5, 2012). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the larvae you are likely to encounter. A "WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in your county, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth with its larvae are present or might be present.

A "BAMONA" indicates the moth is reported in Lepidoptera of North America, #1. Distribution of Silkmoths (Saturniidae) and Hawkmoths (Sphingidae) of Eastern North America, an excellent little booklet available through Paul Opler.

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 report your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent on-line resource.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Ceratomia amyntor BAMONA, 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.

Manduca quinquemaculatus GV/BAMONA, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

The caterpillars are called Tomato Hornworms and each has a black horn at the end of the abdomen. Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Sometimes the larvae are chocolate brown to almost black.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Rufus, October 5, 2012, Greg Volkman

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 perelegans WO, the Elegant Sphinx: The basic body colour can be either glaucous or apple-green, without the earlier body tubercles. The oblique side stripes are white, edged with purple. The horn is sky blue. The spiracles are pale orange and the anal flap is edged with yellow.

Sphinx sequoiae WO, the Sequoiae Sphinx:

Larvae feed on California juniper (Juniperus californica) and Rocky Mountain juniper (J. osteosperma).

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 BAMONA, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx

Larvae feed on poplars and cottonwood. The anal horn is greatly reduced in the final instar.

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.

Skin is quite granulous.

Paonias myops BAMONA, 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 ophthalmica WO: Ophthalmica larvae resemble cerisyi larvae, both being pale green, with granular skin, pale lateral diagonal lines, faint red spiracular circles, and very pale longitudinal lines running from head to more pronounced anal diagonal line. Larvae have green heads bounded dorsally with pale yellow inverted "V". Note blue horn.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Hemaris thetis WO/EB,

Larval host plants include Snowberry (Symphoricarpos), honeysuckle (Lonicera), Coralberry, viburnums, high bush cranberry and hawthorn (Crataegus).

Horn is black with a slightly lighter base. This western species was formerly classified as H. diffinis or H. senta. Those species west of the Continental Divide are now classified as H. thetis.

Macroglossini tribe:

Arctonotus lucidus WO, the Pacific Green Sphinx or Bear Sphinx

Larvae feed on evening primrose (Oenothera dentata var. campestris) and clarkias. David Wikle fed them on both Mexican evening primrose, Oenothera berlandieri and evening primrose, Oenothera biennis. Earlier instars are green. Eye at dorsal posterior appears in fifth instar.

Hyles gallii WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This species is not reported in Chippewa, but it has been recorded in eastern Wisconsin counties. I suspect it is present.
Larvae come in black and in brown forms and often feed on Epilobium (fireweed).

Hyles lineata WO, 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.

Proserpinus clarkiae WO, Clark's Sphinx,

Larvae feed on elegant fairyfan (Clarkia unguiculata) in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae).

Proserpinus flavofasciata WO, Yellow-banded Day Sphinx,

Larvae feed on willow weed (Epilobium) and possibly thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus).

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