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

Subject: Huge bug on tomato plant
Location: Minnesota
July 9, 2012 10:54 am
I have no idea what this is. It looks like an enormous moth. I saw it this morning on my tomato plant. It didn’t fly away when I got close to it. It just clung to the leaf and was perfectly still.
My images aren’t real good because I took with my tablet.
Signature: Tara

Sphinx Moth: Carolina Sphinx or Five Spotted Hawkmoth???

Hi Tara,
This is one of two species of Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth in the genus
Manduca.  It is either the Carolina Sphinx or the Five Spotted Hawkmoth.  Both are found in Minnesota and both have large caterpillars known as Hornworms that feed on the leaves of tomato and related plants.

Hi Dan
Thank you for your quick response.  I kind of thought that is what it might be after looking at some images and information on the web.  Does the adult do any damage?
The odd this is that when I got home, it was still on the plant.  All the articles I read said that these guys aren’t often seen because they come out at dusk.  It was very bright and sunny in this location.  I thought it might be dead and even pushed the planted around a bit to see if it would move.  It didn’t move an inch, but it finally left after I moved away.  Also, I took some better pics.
Here is the link
I have another one that I was hoping you could help with.

Hi Tara,
The other critter is a Grapevine Beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: moth, buterfly or other
Location: New York
July 8, 2012 7:30 pm
What kind of bug is this. It visited our butterfly bush this evening. It hovers like a hummingbird to feed. It is quick, wings translucent, Not afraid and stuck around for a while visiting different flowers on the bush. We live in New York on the Southern edge of the Catskill Mountains. Wings were clear but did have some red detailing in them.
Signature: bugman

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Hi bugman,
Your first guess is correct.  This is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth,
Hemaris thysbe, and you may verify that on Sphingidae of the Americas, the website devoted to new world species from your moth’s family.  As moths go, Hummingbird Clearwings are very atypical.  They are diurnal rather than flying at night.  The are frequently mistaken for hummingbirds as they hover before flowers drinking nectar.  Thanks for sending your wonderful photo. 

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