Currently viewing the category: "Hummingbird Moths, Sphinx Moths or Hawk Moths"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth
Location: Salem, Oregon
July 8, 2012 12:53 am
This moth is approx. 2”, I can’t find an ID for it on line, do you know what it is?
Signature: Mouse

Blinded Sphinx

Hi Mouse,
Your moth is one of the Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae, and it is a Blinded Sphinx,
Paonias excaecata.  We verified its identity on the Sphingidae of the Americas website which is where we turn first when we need a Sphinx ID.  It is very easy to browse the site by state or country.  Many Sphinx Moths have false eyespot markings on the lower wings that are revealed when the moth is disturbed.  The markings on this particular species might have reminded someone of sightless eyes, hence the common name Blinded Sphinx.  If you are interested in moths, you should see if there is a National Moth Week event in your area.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Carolina Sphinx Moth This Time!
Location: New Hampshire
July 6, 2012 4:32 pm
Hey again Bugman!
This is becoming a trend with me, but I know I was excited to find this little gal in the same stairwell I rescued the Small Eyed Sphinx from a few weeks ago. A quick perusal of your archives leads me to believe she’s a Carolina Sphinx and she’s certainly the biggest moth I’ve yet to come face to face with! Now I’m hoping a Luna or Polyphemus comes to visit next.
Signature: Black Zarak

Waved Sphinx

Dear Black Zarak,
Congratulations on your newest moth sighting, and we agree that it is a Carolina Sphinx by comparing your image to images on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  If you are interested, you should see if there are any National Moth Week events in your area

Correction:  This is a Waved Sphinx, not Carolina Sphinx.
Sometimes in an effort to respond to as many letters as possible, we make mistakes.  Thanks to a comment from Ryan, we have made the correction.  See Sphingidae of the Americas for more information on the Waved Sphinx.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: half bird?!? bug!
Location: Toronto, Canada
July 4, 2012 9:17 am
We saw this bug crawling across our lawn in Toronto, Canada. It appeared to have a damaged wing and was covered in a grey dust.
It was huge and almost looks like it has the head of a budge!
Love your site…just discovered and definitely bookmarked.
Signature: tom

Newly Eclosed Sphinx Moth

Hi Tom,
This newly eclosed Sphinx Moth in the genus
Manduca has recently emerged from its pupa and its wings have not yet fully expanded.  We believe it is either the Carolina Sphinx, Manduca sexta (see Sphingidae of the Americas), or the Five Spotted Hawkmoth, Manduca quinquemaculata (see Sphingidae of the Americas).  The two species look similar and your photo does not show enough characteristics for us to be able to tell the difference.  Both species have caterpillars that feed on the leaves of tomato plants and related plants in the family.  Pupation occurs underground.  We suspect you might have a vegetable patch nearby.  We thought your birdlike moth would be a member of the family Sphingidae because its members are sometimes called Hummingbird Moths and diurnal species are frequently mistaken for hummingbirds when they hover in place while nectaring.  Though we were surprised with your image, we must say that this plump newly metamorphosed moth really does resemble a bird.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for the thorough answer!  We definitely have a vegetable patch nearby…tomatoes and peppers!
I apologize for the poor images, i only had my smartphone camera and nothing better.
My wife and I were shocked at the shear size of the (now known) moth and that odd birdlike head.  I have lived in Toronto for my entire life and we have had gardens at this location since 1979.  We have never seen anything like this in the past.  Are they common in this part of the world or is this another example of strange weather patterns forcing various species to travel further north? (like the recent findings of Monarchs in Edmonton).  I just read on one of your links that they are irregular in Southern Ontario and only reported 2 hours south of us in London.  I hope this isn’t a bad sign!
Thank you again and thank you for opening a new, interesting world of information!

Hi Again Tom,
According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website Ontario page,
Manduca quinquemaculata is a native species and Manduca sexta is an “ irregular migrant.”  Since we cannot tell the difference in your photo, and since both species are reported from Ontario, we would not get unduly alarmed just yet.  Climate patterns are changing, and we should come to expect the appearance as well as the disappearance of species in certain areas because of temperature changes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Sphinx moth ID please
Location: Door county, WI
July 3, 2012 6:05 pm
I found this sphinx moth on 6/16/12 in Door county, WI. Is it a Clemens and if so, any insight on them?
Signature: under my picture

Canadian Sphinx

Wow, this sighting has us excited.  You are correct, it is the Clemens or Canadian Sphinx, Sphinx luscitiosa, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas website, it is rare.  From that site, we have gleaned that males take nectar during the day and only females are attracted to lights at night.  It is also interesting that they are reported to feed on the fluids of rotting fish.  The food plants for the caterpillars are listed as “willow (Salix), poplar (Populus), birch (Betula), apple (Malus), ash (Fraxinus), waxmyrtle (Morella), and northern bayberry.”  We will copy Bill Oehlke on this reply in the event he can add any information and he also may request permission to reproduce your photo on his excellent website.  BugGuide also provides this information:  “Global Rank: G3 – Very rare or local throughout its range, or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). Threatened throughout its range.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Dead leaf moth
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 30, 2012 4:13 pm
First of all, thank you for your labor of love in maintaining this site. I don’t visit regularly – just every time I see something unusual and want to learn about it.
I found this moth clinging to the door frame of the house, middle of the afternoon (June 30, 2012) about 12-inches above the ground. The wingspan, side to side, is 2.75 inches. I would suspect it just pupated and is drying its wings, except there is only concrete below – no dirt. It could have crawled there but I don’t see an empty case hanging anywhere.
Camouflage is so good I actually thought it was a dead leaf snagged in a spider web. The seeming appearance of openings and curled texture at the ends of the wings is all done with color shading. Structurally, the wings are flat and smooth.
It is very calm and has not moved when we put a camera within 4 inches of it, a ruler just below to measure, or closed the door. Perhaps an instinctive behavior to avoid attention, or maybe it is nocturnal – waiting for night.
Signature: facinated with nature

Achemon Sphinx

Dear f.i.n.,
Thank you for the compliments on our website.  This lovely moth is an Achemon Sphinx,
Eumorpha achemon.  You can read more about its life history on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Small Eyed Sphinx Rescue!
Location: New Hampshire
June 22, 2012 10:48 pm
Hey Bugman!
I found this little lady (I’m assuming, from the smooth antennae)resting on the stairs of my apartment complex and thought I’d save her from a squishing by bringing her inside. And after a few pics, I let her go off the balcony. I knew she was a Sphinx moth but not the exact species until I took a quick peek in your archives. Being a life long bug nut, I was happy to have seen another insect in person that before now I had only seen in books, etc.
Signature: Black Zarak

Small Eyed Sphinx

Dear Black Zarak,
We agree with your identification of a Small Eyed Sphinx,
Paonias myops, and you can read more about the species of the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  We are thoroughly charmed by your letter.  As much as we love books, seeing a living specimen is much more rewarding than seeing a photograph of a species, even if it is a beautiful photograph.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination