This site has been created by
Bill Oehlke at firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.
Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
copyright C. Odenkirk
This moth has a large, heavy body, and females can be remarkably plump. Tim Dyson recorded the moth depicted above on June 8-9 in Peterborough, Ontario.
Little is known about the eclosions of the earth pupators, but many believe pupae wiggle toward the surface just prior to emergence.
These pupae were difficult to scan as they were very active.
Pachysphinx modesta pupae are quite large compared to those of other Sphingidae, especially here on P.E.I.
Livestock of the Modest Sphinx is usually available in the fall.
Tim Dyson, Peterborough, Ontario, and I (Bill Oehlke, Montague, Prince Edward Island) have both noticed a preponderance of males early in the flight season, followed by a much greater number of females as the season progresses.
Pachysphinx modesta eggs are quite large and a translucent pale green. As incubation (8-10 days) progresses, the eggs turn a shiny bronze color.
Tim Dyson sent this image to "to show how they 'ripen like grapes' prior to hatching."
Moths oviposit readily in brown paper bags.
Warmth hastens the development of the eggs which hatch 8-12 days after deposition.
Larvae have a characteristic pattern and colouration even as hatchlings, as is evident in these images of a day old larvae, courtesy of Tim Dyson.
They also rest in typical Sphingidae pose.
These hornworms feed upon poplar, willow, and cottonwood, are very strong and develop to quite a size.
Larvae progress very rapidly on poplar. The green of the early hornworm instars is
very much like the top of the poplar leaf while the pale green of the final instar
more closely resembles the color of the underside of poplar leaves.
Just prior to pupation larvae take on a light purplish hue, descend the tree and will chew right through my Remay sleeves if I don't remove them. This species pupates readily under artificial conditions, and pupae are large (50mm long), dull, dark, and rough. Some larvae (Ian Miller) have considerably more red spotting. The anal horn is greatly reduced in the final instar.
Pachysphinx modesta prepupal, Vegreville, Alberta, August 24, 2008, courtesy of David Hibbeln.
Shannon Larsen sent me the beautiful images below of a male (note arched abdomen) Pachysphinx modesta, taken August 21st, 2004, in Centerview, Missouri.
One does not often get to see the underside of this moth as a live specimen, but Tim Dyson provides a "quick shot" (below) of a female (top) making a landing. The underside of the hindwing is not nearly as vibrant as the dorsal surface.
Visit Pachysphinx modesta fifth instar on cottonwood, Houston, Harris County, Texas, June 20, 2011, courtesy of Cory Melancon.
Visit Pachysphinx modesta, Peterborough, Ontario, June 28, 2012, Paula Sheppard
Visit Pachysphinx modesta female, at light at Xavier High School, July 19, 2011, Tom Jantcher
Visit Pachysphinx modesta female and larvae, British Columbia, Canada, Ben Trott
Return to U. S. A. Table
Return to Main Sphingidae Index
Return to Smerinthini Tribe
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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