Sphinx pinastri courtesy of Paolo Mazzei.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.


Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Sphinginae, Latreille, 1802
Tribe: Sphingini, Latreille, 1802
Genus: Sphinx Linnaeus, 1758 ...........
Species: pinastri Cadiou, 1995


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The Pine hawkmoth, Sphinx pinastri (Wing span: 2 3/4 - 3 1/2 inches (7 - 9 cm)), flies in conifer forests in Europe and was introduced into the U.S. as an exotic. The moth was last seen in the U.S. in Pennsylvania, but probably has since disappeared in North America.

The uppersides of the forewings are gray with a gray-brown overlay. There are black dashes near the center of the wing, and dark brown at the base of the inner margin. The upperside of the hindwing is gray-brown with pale gray along the costal margin. The hindwing is darker than the forewing.


Sphinx pinastri adults probably fly as a single brood from June-August. Adults rest on pine tree trunks during the day and are extremely well camouflaged.


Pupae probably wiggle to surface from subterranean chambers just prior to eclosion.

Sphinx pinastri courtesy of Tony Pittaway.


Females call in the males with a pheromone released from a gland at the tip of the abdomen. Adults nectar at a variety of flowers, including honeysuckle. Both sexes come to lights.


Females lay eggs, shiny pale green at first, changing to reddish yellow, in groups of 2 or 3 along pine or spruce needles.

Incubation lasts 14--20 days, and, just before hatching, the dark head of the larva becomes visible through the now transparent shell.

Larvae feed on various species of conifers, including Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris); and spruce, including Norway spruce (Picea abies).

Females lay approximately 100 eggs.

There are both green and dark larval forms and larvae attain lengths of 75-80 mm.

In Europe, the caterpillars can sometimes be pests in coniferous forests.

Images courtesy of Paolo Mazzei.

The pupa is 35--40 mm long and very similar to that of S. ligustri and isusually formed under moss or the needle mat found at the base of trees.

Pupae may overwinter twice.

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