my backyard moth
I got the following information when I had sent in my moth photo taken in my backyard just north of Boston, MA. Using the information I got I stumbled on your site and LOVE it. Thought you might be interested and just MAYBE get you to guess. However, I can’t get the moth to show me its hindwings.
“It’s too bad I don’t know where your backyard is. Read on… It is either the banded sphinx, Eumorpha fasciata, or the vine sphinx, Eumorpha vitis. The way to distinguish them is to examine some very small features of the hindwings, which you photo does not show. Vine sphinx is found all over eastern North America, while the banded sphinx would be very rare in the northern half of North America. That’s why I was wondering where your backyard is–it might almost rule out the banded sphinx, even without seeing the hindwings. John Snyder
Dept. of Biology
Greenville, SC USA”
Sorry, but the photo was not attached, Anne [in Massachusetts]
As rank amateurs, we are hardly in a position to disagree with experts at a University. That said, we checked the USGS report listed on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website and have come to an agreement with Professor Snyder that the Vine Sphinx is more likely because it is not listed as common in Massachusetts, only as a confirmed sighting. However, according to the illustration in our very old Holland Guide, the wing pattern visible on the upper wings does seem a closer match to the Banded Sphinx. We could go either way given that the moth is confirmed in Massachusetts. Though we don’t want to disagree with Professor Snyder, if you had sent this in without his comments, we would have probably identified it as a Banded Sphinx.