Currently viewing the category: "Hummingbird Moths, Sphinx Moths or Hawk Moths"
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Subject: What kind of moths are these?
Location: East Coulee Alberta
May 27, 2016 8:26 pm
These two were spotted east of Drumheller Alberta. Im curious what they are called.
Signature: Curious Kim

Mating Modest Sphinxes

Mating Modest Sphinxes

Dear Curious Kim,
We turned to the Sphingidae of the Americas site to verify the identity of your mating Sphinx Moths, and we have determined that they are mating Modest Sphinxes,
Pachysphinx modesta, and we are amused at their seemingly immodest behavior.  The species is also called the Poplar Sphinx, and it resembles a closely related species, Pachysphinx occidentalis, which has been “delisted” on the species from Alberta page of Sphingidae of the Americas.  Interestingly the species page on Sphingidae of the Americas still states:  “Pachysphinx occidentalis occidentalis, the Big Poplar Sphinx (Wing span: 5 1/8 – 5 7/8 inches (13 – 15 cm)), flies in riparian areas and suburbs from Alberta and North Dakota west to eastern Washington; south to Texas, Arizona, southern California, and Baja California Norte.”  We will attempt to contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide a conclusive identification and perhaps indicate why the second species was “delisted.”

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Subject: large moth
Location: Sheffield england
May 26, 2016 8:08 am
Hi as my son played in the garden he shouted for us to look at his leg and there was this big giant like moth clung onto his trousers I uploaded the pic on another site but it says its a brown bat unless that’s the name off that type of moth I don’t think its a brown bat as it would be far to small and it was 15:00 hours when it was out can you identify what it may be
Signature: sarah

Eyed Hawkmoth

Eyed Hawkmoth

Dear Sarah,
We have identified your Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae as an Eyed Hawkmoth,
Smerinthus ocellata, thanks to the UK Moths site where it states:  “Fairly well distributed throughout England and Wales, this species has a sombre, camouflaged appearance at rest, but if provoked, flashes the hindwings, which are decorated with intense blue and black ‘eyes’ on a pinkish background.  The adults fly from May to July, inhabiting woodland and suburban localities.”  If you look closely at one of your images, you can see the “eyes” on the colorful hindwings barely visible.

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Subject: Moth
Location: Sweden, Stockholm
May 23, 2016 10:14 pm
I would really like to know what kind of moth this is. It was aproximately 2.5 inches.
Signature: Lena

Poplar Hawkmoth

Poplar Hawkmoth

Dear Lena,
The Poplar Hawkmoth,
Laothoe populi, is one of the largest members of the family Sphingidae found in Europe.  According to UK Moths:  “Probably the commonest of our hawk-moths, it has a strange attitude when at rest, with the hindwings held forward of the forewings, and the abdomen curved upwards at the rear. If disturbed it can flash the hindwings, which have a contrasting rufous patch, normally hidden.  Distributed commonly throughout most of Britain, the adults are on the wing from May to July, when it is a frequent visitor to light.”  According to The Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic:  “Frequents almost any damp, low-lying area, such as country lanes, open woodland rides, railway cuttings or town parks, particularly where Populus spp. but also Salix spp. are present; commoner where the former occurs. Up to 1600m in the Alps. Most emerge late at night or early in the morning, clambering up the tree trunk at the base of which the larva had pupated. Not until the following evening does the moth take flight, females quickly selecting a resting position amongst foliage from which the males are attracted at around midnight. Once paired, they remain coupled until the following evening when, after separation, the females start laying eggs almost immediately.”

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Subject: Beefly? What kind?
Location: Voldstream bc
May 18, 2016 11:28 pm
Location: coldstream, bc
Date: May 18, 2016
Detail: seen everywhere on our 5 acre hobby farm. I keep rescuing them from out of our hot greenhouses. Havent seen these fellers in our area before.
We have normally lots of polination plants and wild bees.
Thanks.
ER
Signature: in kind

Bee Hawkmoth

Bee Hawk Moth

Dear ER,
Bee Flies, like other flies, have a single pair of wings.  Your insect has two sets of wings.  It is a Bee Hawk Moth,
Hemaris thetis, which we identified on the Sphingidae of the Americas site where it states:  “Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable, both geographically and seasonally. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to dark greenish-brown. The abdomen tends to be dark (black) with 1-2 yellow segments just before the terminal end. These yellow segments are in much sharper contrast to the rest of the abdomen than in somewhat similar species. Also note the relatively narrow dark outer margin of the hindwing. Most fresh specimens also have some blue “fur” tufts highlighting the first black band on the abdomen.” 

Hello Daniel,
Thank you so much for this detailed id. I am excited I have a bee hawkmoth on my property ~
Evan

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Subject: Mothra behind my house?
Location: Calgary, Alberta
May 18, 2016 10:03 pm
I spotted this grey moth sitting against my house. It’s huge. I couldn’t measure it, but I can safely guess it’s 2 inches in length (from the top of it’d head to tip of the wings). Possibly more, but not less. It is may 18th, and it has been a hot dry spring, and a very mild winter (comparatively). I’ve never seen anything like it here. I’ve never seen a moth this big outside of a moth and butterfly exhibit!
I’m so curious as to what it is (and why it’s in my yard??? What do it’s larvae eat?).
Signature: Regards, Sheila

Northern Ash Sphinx

Northern Ash Sphinx

Dear Sheila,
Your moth is one of the Sphinx Moths or Hawkmoths in the family Sphingidae, and we identified it as a Northern Ash Sphinx,
Sphinx chersis, thanks to the Sphingidae of the Americas site where it states “Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.”  If there was a light nearby, it may have been attracted to the light at night.

wow, thank you so much for the quick response! I’m pleased to know it won’t try to make off with my 2 year old. 😛
best,
Sheila

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Subject: WTB
Location: Fishing Creek, MD USA
May 17, 2016 9:00 pm
HI, can you identify? It’s 1 inch long
Signature: Mike F.

Small Eyed Sphinx

Small Eyed Sphinx

Dear Mike,
This is a Small Eyed Sphinx,
Paonias myops, and if you disturb it so that it reveals its underwings, you would see the markings that give this species its common name.  Eyespots on underwings are a defense mechanism that might frighten of a predator like a bird that might perceive a threat from a much larger creature with large “eyes.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination