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. The upperside of the hindwing is light brown and has a dark brown band along the outer margin.
Larvae feed on Elm (Ulmus), birch (Betula), basswood (Tilia), and
Ceratomia undulosa, July 21, 2006, Joan F. Rickert
The upperside of the forewing is pale brownish gray with wavy black and white lines and a black-outlined white cell spot.
The upperside of the hindwing is gray with diffuse darker bands.
Ceratomia undulosa, Medford, June 4, 2011, courtesy of Joan F. Rickert
Ceratomia undulosa, Medford, June 30, 2011, Joan F. Rickert
WO, 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.
Larve are not limited to pawpaw. unlikely, northern limit in WI.
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.
Sphinx eremitus larva find
(immature, feeding on Monarda), August 8, 2006, courtesy of Joan F. Rickert.
Lintneria eremitus JR, the
Hermit Sphinx: Fw upperside is gray-brown with wavy lines, black dashes, and one or two small white spots near
center of costa. Hw upperside is black with two white bands and a triangular black patch at base. Note golden hair on thorax.
Larval hosts are various species of beebalm (Monarda), mints (Mentha), bugleweed (Lycopis),
and sage (Salvia).
This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens
(potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.
Sphinx canadensis, Medford, June 4, 2011, courtesy of Joan F. Rickert
Canadian Sphinx is not common, and is
Absence of white spot on forewing and more brownish coloration serve to separate canadensis from S. poecilus.
Hw fringe also tends to be white on poecilus and checkered brownish on canadensis.
Larval hosts: white ash (Fraxinus americana) and blueberry
Sphinx chersis, Medford, July 23, 2011, Joan F. Rickert.
JFR/WO, 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.
The costal area in the basal and median areas of the forewing is light grey. This colour also
appears in the terminal area. The rest of the wing is dark slatey grey.
Colouration and markings are highly variable from one specimen to another. Fw fringes are mostly black with some white; those on hindwing are mostly white
with a few black patches.
Fw upperside 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, July 28, 2006, Joan F. Rickert
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.
the Canadian Sphinx or
The upperside of the forewing is yellowish gray in males and pale gray with a faint yellow tint in females. In both sexes,
the dark border on the outer margin widens as it approaches the inner margin.
The upperside of the hindwing is deep yellow in males, pale yellow in females; both with a wide black border.
If you have blueberries in the woods, then you probably have the
They are probably widespread throughout Wisconsin,
but are very much under reported.
The upperside of the forewing has a narrow black subterminal line
bordered by a white inverted V-shaped line on the outside, and a
black line running inwards from the apex of the wing.
It is most often found in montane woodlands and along streamcourses.
This moth is not reporterd in Taylor County but may be present.
This is the first Sphinx species I reared as a boy in New Jersey.
See the file for the female; she is different.
Paonias excaecata, adult, June 19, 2008; larva, Medford, August 2, 2008, Joan F. Rickert.
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, Medford, June 20, 2008, Joan F. Rickert
the Small-eyed Sphinx
This small species is confirmed in Taylor County by Joan F. Rickert. This species ranges
across North America.
The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.
Pachysphinx modesta, May 31, 2006; May 26, 2007, Joan F. Rickert
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,
This large poplar/willow feeder is now reported in Taylor County, courtesy
of Joan F. Rickert
They are a heavy bodied species.
Smerinthus cerisyi, May 31, 2006, Joan F. Rickert
WO/JFR, 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.
Smerinthus jamaicensis, July 15, 2006, Joan F. Rickert
This moth is widely distributed and fairly common, although it is
recorded in Taylor County.
Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida.
See Hemaris comparison to help distinguish
the next three species.
June 17, 2006, Joan F. Rickert
WO/ JFR, 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.
WO, The Slender Clearwing or Graceful
These moths are diurnal and are most often seen nectaring during the day at flowers. Note the smooth inner edge of the burgundy forewing outer margin and the
reddish upper surface of the legs.
Hemaris thysbe, June 1, 2006, June 13, 2008, Joan F. Rickert
WO/JFR, the Hummingbird Clearwing
This interesting day flier is now confirmed for Taylor, courtesy
of Joan F. Rickert.
They are widely distributed in the east from P.E.I. to Florida.
This moth is not reported for Taylor,
but it may be present.
Note the differences between this moth and the Pandorus Sphinx.
unlikely, further south in Wisconsin
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.
unlikely, further south in Wisconsin
Ampohion floridensis, Medford, May 31, 2008, May 27, 2012, courtesy of Joan F. Rickert.
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.
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.
WO, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx or the
Fw upperside is dark brown to pale yellowish gray, with an olive tint, often more green than described.
On the costal margin there is a dark rectangular patch, although this may be reduced or absent.
Hw upperside is pale orange.
This species has not been recorded in Taylor.
It is seen in southern Ontario, however, and in central and
southern Wisconsin. unlikely, further south in Wisconsin
WO, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth
or Gallium Sphinx
This species is not reported in Taylor, but it has been recorded in
eastern Wisconsin counties. I suspect it is present.
Some years I see them on P.E.I., some years, I do not.
Hyles lineata adult: May 31, 2007; June 1, 2012; larva July 10, 2009 and July 14, 2010; Medford, Joan F. Rickert
JFR/WO, 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.
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.