I’m hoping you can tell me what this is…I live in Central Wisconsin and it was right by my door in the early evening last night – scared me to death! It seemed to be about 4 inches wide by 3 inches long. Do I need to be afraid?
Any help is appreciated.
Don’t be afraid Rebecca.
You have been visited by a Big Poplar Sphinx, Pachysphinx modesta. It is something of a special case, since it is the only member of its genus, though there is a second variety, Pachysphinx modesta occidentalis which lives in the far west and is lighter in color. The moth is a member of the Hawkmoth family, Sphingidae. The moth ranges over much of the U.S. and as far south as Northern Mexico. The caterpillars feed on poplar and willow.
Thanks for your quick response. I’ve never seen a moth that big! Without the wings spread I wasn’t sure what it was – I was just hoping it wasn’t some kind of bat. I was looking at the website – Moths of North America – and then selected Wisconsin and the Sphingidae family to see if I could find the Big Poplar Sphinx and it’s not there. I tried finding it before emailing you but didn’t know where to begin. Any idea why it’s not listed? How common is it to see one of these moths? I love your site and since I just moved to 3 acres in the country I will be coming back often. Thanks for all your help.