Titan Sphinx moth
While trying to find out what this moth was, we noticed you didn’t have a picture of it on your moth page. My students originally thought it was a hummingbird, then a bee, and finally a moth was suggested. My classes were able to identify it as a Titan Sphinx, Aellopos titan . This was found in the farthest northwest corner of Minnesota, which made it hard to identify because it is not normally here. This will be one of my biggest goals in life, being on your site. The only thing better would be to win a Nasty Reader Award. You have a great reference site.
Gary D. Taylor
Science Teacher
Tri-County High School

Titan Sphinx

Titan Sphinx

Hi Gary,
Thank you so much for contributing a new species, the Titan Sphinx or White-Banded Day Sphinx, Aellopos titan, to our website. We are linking to Bill Oehlke’s fabulous website in order to provide more information on this species. We just transitioned to our new format this weekend, and we had numerous technical difficulties. We are happy we decided to sort through two day old mail to find post worthy letters. We seriously cannot imagine you ever achieving the infamy of our Nasty Reader Award since your correspondence is so gracious. We will be copying Bill Oehlke on this response as he will probably want to add this unusual sighting to his own website, and he will probably request permission to use your image as well. Bill Oehlke can also verify that the identification is correct.

3 Responses to Titan Sphinx

  1. kkroeker says:

    Fantastic! As you probably already know, the Titan Sphinx is an extremely rare visitor to Minnesota, previously reported only from the extreme southwest corner of the state. It is considered a tropical species with a normal range extending from northern Argentina to the US Gulf states. Beyond that there are scattered reports of strays in many of the eastern states and southern portions of eastern Canada. I became interested in this species when I was fortunate enough to see one in the extreme southeast corner of Manitoba this past August. It turns out it has been reported from Manitoba only once before, and that was sometime pre-1925. I suppose that a group of individuals were swept northward into our area this summer by a strong south wind, but the rarity of the species and proximity of our sitings makes me wonder if it was perhaps the same individual. That would be an incredible coincidence and highly unlikely, but it’s an interesting thought. Thanks so much for the posting.

    Winnipeg, Manitoba

  2. dog44_52 says:

    Karl, your stealing my thunder. I was sure this would be the northern most sighting of one of these little guys. Where about was yours seen? This one was photographed just south of Lake Bronson. The photographer had seen it many times and had a camera set up. I guess he would run out and try to catch some photos whenever he saw it, but didn’t have any luck until recently.


  3. kkroeker says:

    Sorry about that Gary – not trying to steal your thunder, just trying to turn this into a proper storm. I saw mine on August 3 at the northeast corner of Whitemouth Lake. That puts it just 88 km (54 miles) northeast of your siting! When did you see yours? I think it was really an incredible coincidence that I saw it at all. I was only camping in the area for one night, trying to photograph different butterflies in this ecologically unique part of Manitoba. It was quite late in the day and the sky was heavily overcast, so I had some difficulty photographing in the dim light. I was hoping to get a better chance the next day but I never saw it again. You just have to be in the right place at the right time. I really wonder if these things are as rare as the records would indicate. Was this just a very unusual year, or are there just not enough people looking and paying attention – I suspect both. Congratulations to you for a wonderful spot and the great photos, and to your students for figuring it out!


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