Currently viewing the category: "Hummingbird Moths, Sphinx Moths or Hawk Moths"
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Subject: moth identification
Location: ear Halfmoon Bay on the Sunshine Coast in BC
July 19, 2014 2:26 pm
Hi There. This moth came to visit us one evening in late June. It was quite beautiful! About 7 cm across from wing tip to wing tip. Can you tell us what it is?
Thank you
Signature: Jackie

Sphinx Moth:  Smerinthus ophthalmica

Sphinx Moth: Smerinthus ophthalmica

Hi Jackie,
We confirmed the identity of your Sphinx Moth as
Smerinthus ophthalmica thanks to the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  Alas, you moth does not have a common name, though Sphinx Moth and Hawkmoth are names to describe the members of the family.  According to Pacific Northwest Moths:  “They are nocturnal and come to light.  This species is common at porch lights.  The mouthparts are reduced and the moths do not feed as adults.”

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Subject: Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, I think
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
July 15, 2014 11:23 am
I think I know what this insect is, a hummingbird clearwing moth. We’ve had hawk moths and hummingbird moths in this part of Alaska for the past few years, but I don’t ever remember seeing them here as a child – and I think I would have remembered, always being a bit of a buggy kid.
I like this picture because the moth is not actually flying, so you can see it more clearly. I thought perhaps it would be useful to your other readers. If not, well, you needn’t bother posting it :)
Thanks, as always for your fascinating site!
Signature: bugalaska

Hummingbird Clearwing

Hummingbird Clearwing

Dear bugalaska,
Your identification of this Hummingbird Clearwing,
Hemaris thysbe, is spot on.  The white legs distinguish it from the closely related Snowberry Clearwing, Hemaris diffinis.   See Sphingidae of the Americas for more information on the Hummingbird Clearwing.

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Subject: Lime Hawkmoth
Location: Southwestern PA
July 15, 2014 7:39 pm
I believe I have found a lime hawkmoth. I have the specim if it is an actual hawkmoth. I seen in one of the forums that no one has caught one yet. I have a live one and I’m not sure what to do about it.
Signature: C. Kessler

Pandorus Sphinx

Pandorus Sphinx

Dear C. Kessler,
You have misidentified your moth.  This is not a Lime Hawkmoth which is a European species, though we did receive one report of a sighting from Pennsylvania in 2009.
  Your moth is a North American species, the Pandorus Sphinx, Eumorpha pandorus.  The Sphingidae of the Americas site has additional information on the Pandorus Sphinx.  You should release the moth and let it live out its life by mating and reproducing.

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Subject: POSSIBLE MOTH?
Location: Stirling
July 8, 2014 2:24 am
Can you please help me identify this creature? it was found at while at work. I live in the Central belt of Scotland and never seen anything like this before
Signature: Bazz34

Elephant Hawkmoth

Elephant Hawkmoth

Dear Bazz34,
This lovely moth is an Elephant Hawkmoth,
Deilephila elpenor, and according to the UK Moths site:  “It is a common species in most of Britain, including Scotland, where it has increased its range in recent years.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Sphinx moth & Creepy Mystery Bug
Location: Lake Arrowhead, CA
July 7, 2014 12:23 pm
Hey Bugman!
I have two bugs for you.
First bug: My boyfriend and I got to hang out with this cool guy for July 4th, he (she?) enjoyed the ambiance of our porch light for many hours. When it flew around, we saw little flashes of pink, but whenever it landed the hindwings were never visible so we couldn’t be sure what they looked like. We spent a lot of time searching to find out its name; we learned that he/she is a Sphinx moth of the family Sphingidae (you know that already but it’s so fun to say). What we couldn’t figure out, is exactly which variety. Walnut sphinx? One-eyed? All we know is that it was gorgeous.

Thanks for your help!
Signature: Krystal

One Eyed Sphinx

Salicet Sphinx

Dear Krystal,
We believe your moth is a One Eyed Sphinx,
Smerinthus cerisyi, but we would not entirely discount one of the other two members of the genus found in California.  You can compare your individual to the One Eyed Sphinx pictured on the Sphingidae of the Americas site.  We are going to try to get a confirmation on our identification from Bill Oehlke.  We are dividing your idenfication request into two distinct postings.

Hi Daniel!
Thank you so much for your quick reply! I think I’m with you that our moth friend was a One-Eyed Sphinx. And my dad and I were very excited about the Harlequin Beetle! We conducted many fruitless internet searches, so to finally have a name for it was awesome. I love your website and I always tell my friends to check it out when they find a bug. Thanks for all you guys do!
Krystal

Bill Oehlke Makes Correction:  Salicet Sphinx July 9, 2014
On Jul 9, 2014, at 8:16 PM, Bill Oehlke wrote:
Daniel,
Smerinthus saliceti
Please see if I can get permission to post and the photographer’s name.
Bill

Will do Bill.  Can you please provide a detailed comparison between the two species?  It would also be great to identify an image from the WTB? archives that best illustrates the differences.
Daniel

Dear Krystal,
Bill Oehlke who runs the Sphingidae of the Americas site has identified your Sphinx as a Salicet Sphinx,
Smerinthus saliceti.  He is also requesting permission to post your image to his site and he is requesting the correct spelling of your name.  You can tell from the mounted specimens on The Sphingidae of the Americas that this is a lovely moth and that the forewings on your specimen more closely match those of Smerinthus saliceti.

Hi Daniel!
I just got your last email, that’s so exciting! I hadn’t heard of that particular Sphinx before. Please tell Mr. Oehlke that he is more than welcome to use my photo! I also am sending along another photo of my moth friend that I took later that evening. Feel free to forward it to him as well. Thanks for all the info! :)
Krystal Kinney

Salicet Sphinx

Salicet Sphinx

Hi Daniel,
I have posted the image of saliceti to
http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/Sphinx/caSanBernardinosph.htm
and I have added some commentary on the saliceti page to help with future determinations
Thanks to both you and Krystal. Please forward a copy of this email to
Krystal as I do not have her email
Bill

Ed. Note:  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website:  “The forewing outer margin is wavy, but the apex is not nearly as much produced as in cerisyi, and the upperside of forewing is gray-brown with distinct dark and light bands. The upperside of the hindwing is mostly red with a yellow-tan outer margin and a blue spot which is usually divided by a V-shaped black line.  CATE indicates this species is more orangey-brown than the very similar grey to grey brown Smerinthus cerisyi from further north and east. The hindwing eyspot is also somewhat different. In Smerinthus cerisyi, the hindwing dorsal eyespot has the black mark in the centre of the blue area circular or diamond shaped and completely surrounded by blue, whereas in Smerinthus saliceti the blue spot is divided by a downwardly angulate band that touches the lateral, black borders.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth identification
Location: Patna,India
July 7, 2014 5:24 am
Dear Bugman, you have helped me many times…one more request.. I cant identify this moth. Any help will be highly appreciated.
Thanks a lot,
Chandan Singh, India
Signature: chandan singh, Greenpower India

Deathshead Hawkmoth

Death’s Head Hawkmoth

Dear Chandan Singh,
This is a Death’s Head Hawkmoth in the genus
Acherontia, and the common name is derived from the resemblance of the pattern on the thorax to the outline of a human skull.  There are three members of the genus Acherontia, and they are quite similar looking and share the common name, but the most commonly commented upon species is Acherontia atropos which is found in Europe and Africa according to the Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic website.  Your individual is most likely Acherontia styx which is distributed in Southeast Asia according to the Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic website.  The third member of the genus, Acherontia lachesis, is also found in India according to the Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic site.  Moths from this genus have a unique behavior associated with feeding that is described on the Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic site as:  “An avid robber of honey in bee hives (Pittaway, 1993).”  The moth is able to enter hives and rob the honey without being stung to death by the bees.  The Death’s Head Sphinx entered the realm of pop culture when it played a role in the Oscar winning film Silence of the Lambs, appearing in the movie poster as well as being an important narrative element in the script.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks a lot for the the prompt and informative reply.
Best regards

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination