Banded Sphinx Moth: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

The banded sphinx moth, scientifically known as Eumorpha fasciatus, is a captivating creature native to tropical regions that occasionally migrates to areas as far as New England. Displaying sleek features, these moths exhibit a dark brown background adorned with light brown to beige contrasting bands and some narrow whitish lines, making them an attractive subject for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike source.

Typically, these moths lead a nocturnal lifestyle, visiting night-blooming flowers and feeding on their nectar using a long proboscis. Their large, heavy-bodied structure and long, pointed abdomen allow them to hover near flowers like a hummingbird, adding to their allure source. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the fascinating world of the banded sphinx moth, discussing their life cycle, feeding habits, and ecological importance.

Banded Sphinx Moth Basics

Scientific Name and Classification

The Banded Sphinx Moth, scientifically known as Eumorpha fasciatus, belongs to the Sphingidae family. This species was first described by Arthur von Freitag and linked to Ludwigia, Sebastian, and Grey Füssli.

Physical Description

The moth’s body is sleek, and its abdomen ends in a long, pointed structure. They possess a distinct feature: a proboscis or “tongue” used for feeding on nectar. The antennae gradually widen and then narrow again, giving them a unique appearance.

Size and Wingspan

Banded Sphinx Moths are medium-sized moths, with their wingspan typically measuring between 2.5 to 4 inches (6.3 to 10 cm), making them easy to spot.

Colors and Patterns

The primary colors of this moth are dark brown, light brown, and beige. Notable characteristics include:

  • Dark brown background color
  • Light brown and beige contrasting bands
  • Narrow whitish lines
  • Two broad, pale bands on forewings

These moths are also referred to as the lesser vine sphinx due to their migration patterns, which can extend as far north as New England (). These distinct colors and patterns make the Banded Sphinx Moth an intriguing and visually appealing creature in the world of moths.

Life Cycle and Behavior

Eggs to Larvae

Banded sphinx moths begin their life cycle as eggs. Female moths lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants, such as primrose or grape leaves1. After a short period, these eggs hatch into larvae.

Caterpillar and Host Plants

As caterpillars, they feed on the leaves of their host plants, with preferences for evening primrose and grape leaves2. Here are some characteristics of banded sphinx moth caterpillars:

  • Bright green with white diagonal stripes
  • Large horn at the end of their body

Pupa and Transformation

Once the caterpillars finish feeding and growing, they enter the pupal stage3. The caterpillars find a spot in organic litter or topsoil to pupate, where they undergo transformation into adult moths.

Adult Moth Behavior

Adult sphinx moths are nocturnal and are attracted to night-blooming flowers for their nectar4. They are known for their hovering behavior while feeding on nectar, similar to hummingbirds. The moth’s long proboscis allows them to feed on a wide variety of flowers.

Here is a comparison of the different stages of the banded sphinx moth life cycle:

Stage Appearance Behavior Feeding
Egg Tiny, laid on host plant leaves N/A N/A
Caterpillar Green with white stripes and horn Feeding on host plant leaves Herbivorous
Pupa Encased in organic litter or soil Transformation into adult moth N/A
Adult Moth Brown with light and white bands Nocturnal, nectar feeding, mating Nectar-feeding

Habitat and Distribution

Geographical Range

The banded sphinx moth, Eumorpha fasciatus, is primarily a tropical species but has a wide range of distribution. It can be found in:

  • North America: From Canada to Mexico, and as far north as New England
  • US States: Texas, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and others

source

Common Habitats

Banded sphinx moths are attracted to diverse environments, including:

  • Gardens and parklands
  • Wooded areas with abundant vegetation
  • Areas with host plants such as the Virginia creeper

source

Impact on Gardens

While the banded sphinx moth is a large and visually striking insect, its impact on gardens is relatively minimal. They are pollinators and feed on nectar, thus contributing to healthy plant growth. However, their larvae can feed on leaves of some plants, potentially causing minor cosmetic damage.

source

Feeding and Pollination

Caterpillar Diet

Banded sphinx moth caterpillars are known for their fondness for feeding on plants in the grape family and evening primrose family. Their diet typically consists of:

  • Grapevines
  • Fuchsia
  • Virginia creeper

Moth Nectar Sources

The adult banded sphinx moths, also known as lesser vine sphinx, have a long, slender proboscis for feeding on nectar. They hover near flowers, similarly to hummingbirds, and draw nectar from:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Petunias
  • Evening primrose

Pollination and Night-Blooming Flowers

Moths, like the banded sphinx moth, play a significant role in pollination, especially during the night. They are attracted to night-blooming flowers that emit strong fragrances, which include:

  • Moonflowers
  • Datura
  • Nicotiana

Hawk Moths and Hummingbirds: A Comparison

Characteristic Hawk Moths Hummingbirds
Size Large moths with long, pointed abdomens Small birds with short beaks
Feeding Long proboscis to feed on nectar Long beaks to feed on nectar
Pollination Active during nighttime, attracted to night-blooming flowers Active during daytime
Range Found from Argentina to Bolivia and as far north as New England Primarily found from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego

Banded sphinx moths, a type of hawk moth, have a range extending from Argentina and Bolivia to New England. They are key pollinators of night-blooming flowers, using their long proboscis to feed on nectar much like hummingbirds. As the adult moths feed, they inadvertently collect and transfer pollen, ensuring the growth of future plants.

Fun Facts and Trivia

The Banded Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha fasciatus) is quite fascinating! Its scientific name was given by Johann Heinrich Sulzer. This moth is distinguished by its beautiful patterns and contrasting colors. Let’s explore some fun facts and trivia about this remarkable creature.

Colors on the Banded Sphinx Moth vary, including:

  • Dark brown background
  • Light brown to beige contrasting bands
  • Narrow whitish lines

These colors create an eye-catching pattern on the moth’s body (source). Banded Sphinx Moths belong to the phylum Arthropoda, just like other insects with jointed legs.

Sometimes, you may find this tropical species in the U.S. They have been spotted as far north as New England due to migration (source).

Adult moths have sleek bodies with large wings featuring veins, making them excellent flyers. The moth’s legs are strong and sturdy, perfect for clinging to plants.

To make it easier to understand, let’s compare this moth with other sphinx moths in a table:

Feature Banded Sphinx Moth Other Sphinx Moth
Color Dark brown, light brown, beige, and white Varies by species
Habitat Tropical, sometimes migrates to the U.S. Can be found worldwide
Size Large Usually large

In conclusion, the Banded Sphinx Moth is a fascinating creature with beautiful colors and patterns. Its unique features make it an interesting moth to study and appreciate.

Footnotes

  1. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/banded-sphinx

  2. https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/FRUIT/PESTS/spinxmoths.html

  3. https://www.fs.usda.gov/wildflowers/pollinators/pollinator-of-the-month/hawk_moths.shtml

  4. https://education.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/sphinx-moths-hawk-moths

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Beautiful caterpillar
We came across this caterpillar while doing some yard work around our pond in Tampa, Florida. My 6-year-old son loves your web site, so he was very excited about sending his first picture in to have a bug identified. Your help will be appreciated!
Cheers,
J & L

Hi J & L,
This is a The Banded Sphinx Moth, Eumorpha fasciatus fasciatus. This caterpillar has highly variable coloration, and yours is one of the reddest we have seen. The caterpillar also feeds on a variety of plants. Bill Oehlke, in his wonderful site devoted to Sphinx Moths, lists the following food plants: ” Seasonvine/Possum grape, Hybrid fuchsia, Upright Primrose Willow, Yerba de jicotea, Anglestem primrose willow, Mexican primrose-willow, Peruvian Primrose-willow, Red ludwigia, Sweetbay magnolia/Swamp magnolia, Virginia creeper, and Grape”

Letter 2 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Caterpillar ID
Location:  Near Tampa, FL
October 17, 2010 3:35 am
Found this caterpillar hanging out on an orange tree about 50 miles to the east of Tampa, FL in mid Octorber. Suspect it’s some kind of Sphinx moth.
Signature:  Larry

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Larry,
You encountered the caterpillar of the Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, which you may read about on the Sphingidae of the Americas website, which does not list citrus as a food plant.  The Banded Sphinx has considerably variation in the color and markings of the caterpillar, and the color morph that is represented by your specimen is probably the most beautiful.

Letter 3 – Banded Sphinx

 

Incredible moth
This is a moth right? What kind is it? I found it sitting on our begonias. I live in Central FL. Thanks for your info.
Tracey Earley

Hi Tracey,
The Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, really is a stunning moth. The larval food plants include evening primrose and water primrose.

Letter 4 – Banded Sphinx

 

In humid, hot, buggy South Texas
Last month, I was staying at a ranch far from town in the buggy river bottom country near the Texas Gulf Coast, north of Refugio, September 21st, 2005. Out on a brightly lit patio/porch, about 10 p.m. at night, this beautiful moth was hanging out on a large fiddle leaf fig growing in a pot. Can you tell me and the rancher what this is? Thanks very much.
Diana Claitor, Austin, Texas
(PS Tried to locate it on your site, so I wouldn’t add to your mail, but couldn’t. Your site is just fantastic, by the way.)

Hi Diana,
This is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha vitis. We are thrilled to get your photo.

Letter 5 – Banded Sphinx

 

Unknown large moth
Hi. Love your website. I tried to find this bug on your site, but could not. I live in Winter Haven, Florida. Found this bug last month, Sept ’06 when I was thinning out my garden.
D

Hi D.,
This is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus. The Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae have their own dedicated pages.

Letter 6 – Banded Sphinx

 

Bug Info
Hey, i was wondering if you could tell me if this is a moth and what kind if it is one. I was told it was a locust. I cant find a way to believe it though. On the bottom of the wings its red and green. Its a very beautiful bug. Wasnt harmed either. I was looking around on the site and it looks some what like the modest sphinxes. But im not sure. Thanks.
Rob

Hi Rob,
What a nice photo of a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus.

Letter 7 – Banded Sphinx

 

Hi All,
This beautiful moth? Was on our driveway. It really looks like a wood carving. This was found in Punt Gorda, Florida (West coast). Can you identify it? Love your site. Thanks,
Daryl Ann

Hi Daryl Ann,
There are two closely related species of moths that both live in Florida and look very similar, the Banded Sphinx and the Vine Sphinx. We believe this is a Banded Sphinx because of the pink visible on the hind wings. Bill Oehlke has additional information on the Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, on his site.

Letter 8 – Banded Sphinx

 

Emailing: Moth 011, Moth 012, Moth 014
Hi,
I have a catyliad orchid in bloom and noticed this beautiful moth hanging out nearby. I searched the internet to find out what it was and found your site. Are thses moths attracted to orchids? I live in Orlando, FL and this guy was here this past Saturday. He was gone the next day. I don’t know if it’s a vine sphinx or banded sphinx but I was fascinated at the 3D affect of the markings. It looked like inlaid wood! Are these rare or common? Thanks for the great site!
Debe Cummings

Hi Debe,
Both the Banded Sphinx and Vine Sphinx are found in Florida and they resemble one another. We believe your specimen is a Banded Sphinx, the more common species.

Letter 9 – Banded Sphinx

 

what’s this moth?
Hey!
I have used your site many times to identify bugs around my house. I actually have something to submit this time. I skimmed over your moth pics and didn’t see another that resembled the one I found tonight hanging out under my porch light. I live in Memphis, TN and had to take a pic of this ginormous moth. It is the largest moth I have ever seen! Do you know what it is??? And why is that other little bug on him in the side view pic? Is that a leaf hopper?!?! Any info. you can give me would be appreciated! Thanks for your cool site. I love learning about all these interesting bugs! I went back outside to see if it was still there and I touched the wall right next to him with a stick and he spread his wings out. I didn’t know if this might help in identifying him or if you might prefer this pic to the other two in my previous email. I am not sure why it fascinates me so much! 🙂 Thanks again!
Mollie

Hi Mollie,
This is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus. You could not locate a matching specimen on our General Moth pages because we have special pages for Sphinx Moths or Hawkmoths. The caterpillar feeds on a wide variety of plants including grape foilage. The tiny hopper visible on one of your photos is just an accidental interaction since both were attracted to lights.

Letter 10 – Banded Sphinx

 

a moth?
When I was in the yard yesterday, I saw this beautiful insect on my garage wall. I think its a moth, but not certain. I live in Florida, on the Gulf Coast about 35 miles north of Tampa, if that helps. It stayed for over an hour, so I was able to get a really nice picture. Thanks for your help.
Gina

Hi Gina,
We believe this is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, but it might be the closely related Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitus.

Letter 11 – Banded Sphinx

 

Large awesome caterpillar
Hey Bugman!
Can you help in the identification of this huge caterpillar? We found them last Saturday on a plant at the edge of our large pond. They have since (3 of them) completely depleted the leaves of the plant. The nearest plant of the same sort is located 20’ away from where they are. There was also some sort of large green shimmery caterpillar on there as well, but we could not find it Tuesday. I collected them and have been feeding them from the other plant. I have included a picture of the plant, we do not know what it is either(it grows wild around the pond). They have become so large (nearly 4”) they were weighing down the plant to the waters edge, where they will most likely become bass food.. Any help you can give would be appreciated. Do they burrow under ground, if so we will need to put them on the other plant. Your site is fantastic. Thanks for your help!!
Ruby

Hi Ruby,
You didn’t need to look any further than our homepage to find another image of a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciata. It feeds on Ludwigia, the water primrose.

Letter 12 – Banded Sphinx

 

Moth
Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 6:54 PM
Just want to double check this is a “hawk moth”. We had a huge rain and this thing showed up on our screen. We live on Daytona Beach.
Thanks for your help!
Holly
Daytona Beach, Florida

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Hi Holly,
We sometimes confuse two species.  We believe this is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, which can be viewed on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.  The species we confuse it with is the Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitus, which can also ve viewed on Bill Oehlke’s excellent Website.  Our money is on the Banded Sphinx.  Yesterday we lost our internet connectivity and were unable to post any new letters.  Today we are running late and have a very long work day, 14 hours, so we are struggling to post your letter before driving (we usually take the train).

Letter 13 – Banded Sphinx we believe

 

What kind of moth?
September 6, 2009
This unusual moth (to me, anyway!) has been resting on our covered patio during the daylight hours for several days. So far, I have not been able to find a close match…
Thanks!
Deb
Beaumont, Texas

Banded Sphinx we believe
Banded Sphinx we believe

Hi Deb,
There are two closely related moth species that both range in Texas and that look quite similar to one another.  We believe your moth is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus and you can compare you moth to the images on Bill Oehlke’s awesome website.  The other species is the Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitis, and it can also be viewed on Bill Oehlke’s website.  According to Bill Oehlke, the two moths can be distinguished from one another in the following manner:  “The upperside of the moth [Eumorpha vitis] is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. The hindwing has a pink patch on the inner margin, but lacks the pink along the outer margin, distinguishing it from fasciata.  Note the large brown ‘parallelogram between lowest of three striga upwards toward the transverse lines. In E. fasciatus this same area is very small, almost non-existent.
”  We are unsure of the parallelogram in question, hence our uncertainty as to the exact species.

Letter 14 – Banded Sphinx

 

Vine Sphinx Moth in SE Texas?
Location: Liberty County, Texas
June 11, 2011 6:49 pm
Found this beauty on the passenger front tire of my ’72 Imperial. Spent some time looking on the site, and found a pic of a Vine Sphinx another contributor had sent in, and it was the closest match. Many thanks for the great site
Signature: Johnny in Texas

Banded Sphinx

Dear Johnny,
We ourselves often have a very difficult time distinguishing between two species, the Vine Sphinx,
Eumorpha vitis, and the Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, and we believe this moth is the Banded Sphinx.  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website, the two species are both found in Texas, and you may compare your moth to the images posted there.  The Sphingidae of the Americas page on the Vine Sphinx offers this means to distinguish between the species:  “The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. The hindwing has a pink patch on the inner margin, but lacks the pink along the outer margin, distinguishing it from fasciata.
Note the large brown “parallelogram” between lowest of three striga upwards toward the transverse lines. In E. fasciatus this same area is very small, almost non-existent.”   On BugGuide, the Banded Sphinx is described as having:  “Strong white bands on wings. Brown band on costa (leading edge of forewing) distinguishes from the similar, less widespread, Vine Sphinx, E. vitis.”  Your moth appears to have that brown band on the leading edge of the forewing, hence our opinion that this is a Banded Sphinx.

Letter 15 – Banded Sphinx

 

Black & Beige VERY LARGE insect..
Location: South Florida
July 21, 2011 7:05 am
Am located in South Florida and this insect was on my screen for the entire day. It is approxiamtely 2 1/2” long and is beieg and black. Hopefully, someone will be able to identify it for me. Thanks.
Signature: Terri

Banded Sphinx

Hi Terri,
There are two closely related Sphinx Moths in the genus
Eumorpha that look very similar, and they are easily confused.  You have a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, and you may read about it on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  BugGuide also has a nice description of the species. The caterpillars feed on plants in the primrose family.

Letter 16 – Banded Sphinx from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Which moth is this?
Location: Boca Tapada, Costa Rica
January 26, 2013 9:22 am
Dear sir,
I found this moth in Costa Rica a few weeks a go, in Boca Tapada, in a lagoon, on a brench. What is it and is it common or rare? Thank you very much in advance !!!!
Signature: M. Van Schaik

Banded Sphinx

Dear M. Van Schaik,
This is a Banded Sphinx Moth,
Eumorpha fasciatus.  It is a wide ranging species that can be found in North America as well as in Argentina.  See the Sphingidae of the Americas for additional information.

Letter 17 – Banded Sphinx from Venezuela

 

Subject: Unidentified moth, from Maracaibo, Venezuela.
Location: Maracaibo, Venezuela
June 2, 2013 10:16 pm
Hey, this guy flew into my room tonight. I’m used to Black witches poping in every now and then but I had never seen one like this. Both the stripe/collor pattern and the shape of the wings were quite distinctive. I was wondering if you could help me identify what kind of moth it is. (Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, but even in spite of it I think the main details can be picked out).
Signature: mudo

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Dear mudo,
Most of our reports of Banded Sphinxes, Eumorpha fasciatus, are from North America, but we verified on the Sphingidae of the Americas website that it does range to South America including Venezuela.

Letter 18 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject: Do you know what this is?
Location: SW FL
April 17, 2014 6:36 pm
I live in South West Florida and on the morning of 4/17/14 this creature was on my door when I exited my house. There is no direct sun at my door. There is a flowering bush about 10 meters away. I’ve never seen anything like this. Can you help me find out what it is? Thank you.
Signature: Tamara

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Hi Tamara,
This beautiful moth is known as a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and you may read more about the species on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Letter 19 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject: Moth of some sort?
Location: Venice Florida
September 12, 2014 4:00 am
This was taken in early September in Venice Florida on The outside open the screen to an apartment porch.. The temperature was close to 90°F, and the humidity was quite high – like 95%
Signature: Tony Lincoln

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Hi Tony,
This striking moth is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas site:  “The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. The hindwing has a pink patch on the inner margin and pink along the outer margin, distinguishing it from vitis.”  Your individual has enough of the underwings showing in the attached image, revealing the pink outer margin, the identifying feature.

Letter 20 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject: Is this a type of moth?
Location: Haines City. Florida
August 4, 2015 9:06 am
Is this a type of Moth?
Signature: Alex Dove

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Dear Alex,
Your moth is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and you can compare your image to this image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on Evening Primrose, Oenothera species, Water Primrose, Ludwigia species, and other related plants (Onagraceae).  Adults are crepuscular to nocturnal and feed on nectar.”

Letter 21 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  Appeared before Hurricane Irma
Geographic location of the bug:  Sebring FL
Date: 09/14/2017
Time: 05:06 PM EDT
There were two of these, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of one with some pink on its wings
How you want your letter signed —
Denise

Banded Sphinx

Dear Denise,
We hope your life is returning to normal after Hurricane Irma.  Based on images and information on The Sphingidae of the Americas, we are quite confident this is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus.

Letter 22 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  Beautiful art deco moth!
Geographic location of the bug:  South Florida
Date: 08/28/2018
Time: 11:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I spotted this beautiful fella in Sarasota, Florida. He was so striking I had to stop and take a picture! I’m wondering what species he is. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Alys

Banded Sphinx

Dear Alys,
The beautiful Banded Sphinx is described on Sphingidae of the Americas: “The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. “

Letter 23 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  What type of moth is this
Geographic location of the bug:  33063, Margate FL
Date: 09/25/2018
Time: 02:17 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This was hanging around hiding from the sun for a bit just wondering what it is
How you want your letter signed:  AJ Hait

Banded Sphinx

Dear AJ Hait,
This striking moth is a Banded Sphinx.

Letter 24 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  Identify moth?
Geographic location of the bug:  DEERFIELD BEACH FLORIDA
Date: 10/14/2019
Time: 01:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  this moth? Is hanging from my back porch screen. We live on a canal close to Intercoastal waterway in south Florida
How you want your letter signed:  Vicki

Banded Sphinx

Dear Vicki,
Based on images and information on Sphingidae of the Americas, we are confident this is a Banded Sphinx.

Letter 25 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Nc
Date: 08/14/2021
Time: 09:36 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Do you know what this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Pamela Grissom

Banded Sphinx

Dear Pamela,
This is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus.  According to BugGuide:  “Strong white bands on wings. Brown band on costa (leading edge of forewing) distinguishes from the similar, less widespread, Vine Sphinx, E. vitis.”

Letter 26 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Subject: Huge caterpillar
Location: St Augustine, FL
September 12, 2013 5:12 pm
Can you tell me what this huge caterpillar is?
Signature: Misti

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Misti,
This beautiful caterpillar is a Banded Sphinx Caterpillar,
Eumorpha fasciatus

Letter 27 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Subject: Worm help!
Location: 32.447175,-95.130009
August 13, 2015 9:10 am
Hello Mr. Bugman! Found this little guy catching the sunset on the grass about 2 feet away from the pond. Did quite a bit of googling. All I found remotely similar is the Horn-worm, but I have only come across green horn-worms..none that are brightly colored like this!
Signature: by the President, please. Just kidding, Kelsey is fine.

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear President Kelsey,
Just out of curiosity, when you are asked where you are from, do you answer “32.447175,-95.130009?”  This is a Hornworm in the genus Eumorpha, and members of the genus often lose the horn as they molt into fully grown caterpillars.  Your individual is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus. 

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Thank you very much! They turn into sweet moths I see. Have a good one Doc.!

Letter 28 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
September 24, 2015 3:38 pm
Found this big ol guy crossing the street headed to our pond. Can’t seem to figure out what he is!
Signature: The Castro Family

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Castro Family,
This magnificent caterpillar is a Banded Sphinx Caterpillar,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and you can compare your individual to this image from BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on Evening Primrose, Oenothera species, Water Primrose, Ludwigia species, and other related plants (Onagraceae).”  Most Sphinx Moth caterpillars pupate underground, and we suspect this large individual stopped feeding and was looking for a good location to dig underground to commence metamorphosis.  This is such a great image illustrating a child’s wonder with the natural world that we have decided to feature your submission.

Thanks for the help!! We spent a Looooooooong time researching and couldn’t find  out what it was!! Interesting that it feeds on water plants! No wonder it was by our pond!!
That’s so cool you’re going to feature our photo! Where can we see it? On your website?
Thanks again for the help! We can complete our nature journal entry! 🙂
Heidi E Castro

Letter 29 – Banded Sphinx: Caterpillar and Moth

 

Eumorpha fasciata?
Wonderful website… was able to id (I think) the adult Eumorpha fasciata from links provided by your site and in the process began to see larva pix. Got to thinking about some pix I took a year ago of a critter feeding on Ludwigia sp. and I do believe they are the same species. The larva was found at my Dad’s home in Mims, FL on 061305 & the adult was found at my home (on the carport at night) in Lake Kissimmee State Park in Lake Wales, FL on 071406. Can you confirm my ID and please share the photo’s as I did not see this species on your site? Thanks much-
Katrina
Holten, Lake Wales, FL

Hi Katrina,
You are correct with your identification. We have photos of both adult and larval forms of the Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, but we have three sphinx moth pages and six caterpillar pages to look through. Your letter is the first with both stages sent together.

Letter 30 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar found swimming in Kentucky

 

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Subject: large caterpillar swimming
Location: Western Kentucky
October 10, 2014 1:33 pm
I had never seen a caterpillar swim before. We were walking along a creek when we saw this large caterpillar “swimming”. It would bend it’s self almost in half to the left, then straighten out, then bend in the opposite direction and straighten out. It propelled it’s self through the water this way. It crawled along a leaf and stick, then set off swimming again for the bank. It was the size of a tobacco horn worm, but much more colorful. I have gone through several pages of your caterpillars and can find nothing close to this one. It was very colorful in the striping, and had a red head, can you tell me what it was, and which one of the large silk moths or sphinx moths it will become? It was seen In Western Kentucky in September of this year (2014)
PS: I have sent this picture and request twice before with no response. I am sending it again as I really want to know what it was.
Signature: Janet Fox

Hi Janet,
First we want to apologize for not responding on your first two attempts.  We really do have a skeleton crew and we do not have the man power to respond to every request.  Even if we did not have gainful employment forcing us to leave our comfortable home office, we still would not be able to effectively respond to all the mail we receive.  Had we known that you had such an exceptional image of a Banded Sphinx Caterpillar to accompany your unusual sighting, you would most certainly have gotten a response on your first attempt.  The Banded Sphinx Caterpillar,
Eumorpha fasciatus, is a variably colored and marked caterpillar with this particular bold and colorful pattern being the most memorable.  You can see more images and read more about the life history of the Banded Sphinx on the Sphingidae of the United States site.  The adult Banded Sphinx is a gorgeous moth.  This is the second account we have received of Banded Sphinx Caterpillars found in water.  We wonder if they are subject to parasites that cause them to drown themselves like Potato Bugs have when infected with Horsehair Worms.

Daniel,
Thank you for helping me identify my swimmer.  I thought it would have had to have been a silk moth or sphinx moth due to it’s size.
I had never seen one swim before.  I was so amazed, later I kicked myself for not taking a video of it instead of still shots.
Live and learn.  Next time, if I ever see another one swim, I will video it.
Thanks again.
Janet Fox

Letter 31 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar from Peru

 

Subject: Caterpillar – Manu Reserve Zone, Peru
Location: Manu Reserve Zone, Peru
October 16, 2016 12:19 pm
We found this lovely caterpillar just off a river bank. It was pretty large and eating the plant it was on.
Signature: Andy

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Andy,
This is the Caterpillar of a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and because it is a species also found in North America, we quickly recognized it.  The caterpillars of the Banded Sphinx are quite variable, and this is probably the most dramatic color pattern.  We verified its identity by matching it to this BugGuide image, and we verified on Sphingidae of the Americas that the species if found in Peru.  Duty calls us away from the office for a few days, so we will be post-dating your submission to go live during our absence later in the week.

Letter 32 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar: Saved from drowning!!!

 

Sphinx?
Location:  East Texas
October 19, 2010 11:35 am
Hi!
We found this poor caterpillar in our koi pond in East Texas and rescued him before he drowned. We think it might be some kind of sphinx moth, but we aren’t sure.
Signature:  Kate

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Kate,
The caterpillar you rescued is that of a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus.  This is a highly variable caterpillar and some individuals are green, some brown, and other have intricate markings like your individual.  You can see these other variations on Bill Oehlke’s website Sphingidae of the Americas.

Letter 33 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillars: light and dark morphs

 

Very Pretty Caterpillar
October 19, 2009
Hello, I found alot of these caterpillars all living on the same type of weed on my property. They are in various colors. I even found one with wasp eggs attached.
Frankie B Norris
Central Florida

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Frankie,
The Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, is one of several Sphinx Moths with highly variable caterpillars.  Though the darker colorful caterpillar is a version well represented in our archives, we believe the lighter morph is a new color variation that is not represented in our archives.  Bill Oehlke’s excellent website illustrates both of these color variations as well as several others.  The Banded Sphinx Caterpillars are known to feed on “primrose-willow, Ludwigia (water primrose) and other plants in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae). Grapes also serve as larval hosts.”

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Beautiful caterpillar
We came across this caterpillar while doing some yard work around our pond in Tampa, Florida. My 6-year-old son loves your web site, so he was very excited about sending his first picture in to have a bug identified. Your help will be appreciated!
Cheers,
J & L

Hi J & L,
This is a The Banded Sphinx Moth, Eumorpha fasciatus fasciatus. This caterpillar has highly variable coloration, and yours is one of the reddest we have seen. The caterpillar also feeds on a variety of plants. Bill Oehlke, in his wonderful site devoted to Sphinx Moths, lists the following food plants: ” Seasonvine/Possum grape, Hybrid fuchsia, Upright Primrose Willow, Yerba de jicotea, Anglestem primrose willow, Mexican primrose-willow, Peruvian Primrose-willow, Red ludwigia, Sweetbay magnolia/Swamp magnolia, Virginia creeper, and Grape”

Letter 2 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Caterpillar ID
Location:  Near Tampa, FL
October 17, 2010 3:35 am
Found this caterpillar hanging out on an orange tree about 50 miles to the east of Tampa, FL in mid Octorber. Suspect it’s some kind of Sphinx moth.
Signature:  Larry

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Larry,
You encountered the caterpillar of the Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, which you may read about on the Sphingidae of the Americas website, which does not list citrus as a food plant.  The Banded Sphinx has considerably variation in the color and markings of the caterpillar, and the color morph that is represented by your specimen is probably the most beautiful.

Letter 3 – Banded Sphinx

 

Incredible moth
This is a moth right? What kind is it? I found it sitting on our begonias. I live in Central FL. Thanks for your info.
Tracey Earley

Hi Tracey,
The Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, really is a stunning moth. The larval food plants include evening primrose and water primrose.

Letter 4 – Banded Sphinx

 

In humid, hot, buggy South Texas
Last month, I was staying at a ranch far from town in the buggy river bottom country near the Texas Gulf Coast, north of Refugio, September 21st, 2005. Out on a brightly lit patio/porch, about 10 p.m. at night, this beautiful moth was hanging out on a large fiddle leaf fig growing in a pot. Can you tell me and the rancher what this is? Thanks very much.
Diana Claitor, Austin, Texas
(PS Tried to locate it on your site, so I wouldn’t add to your mail, but couldn’t. Your site is just fantastic, by the way.)

Hi Diana,
This is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha vitis. We are thrilled to get your photo.

Letter 5 – Banded Sphinx

 

Unknown large moth
Hi. Love your website. I tried to find this bug on your site, but could not. I live in Winter Haven, Florida. Found this bug last month, Sept ’06 when I was thinning out my garden.
D

Hi D.,
This is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus. The Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae have their own dedicated pages.

Letter 6 – Banded Sphinx

 

Bug Info
Hey, i was wondering if you could tell me if this is a moth and what kind if it is one. I was told it was a locust. I cant find a way to believe it though. On the bottom of the wings its red and green. Its a very beautiful bug. Wasnt harmed either. I was looking around on the site and it looks some what like the modest sphinxes. But im not sure. Thanks.
Rob

Hi Rob,
What a nice photo of a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus.

Letter 7 – Banded Sphinx

 

Hi All,
This beautiful moth? Was on our driveway. It really looks like a wood carving. This was found in Punt Gorda, Florida (West coast). Can you identify it? Love your site. Thanks,
Daryl Ann

Hi Daryl Ann,
There are two closely related species of moths that both live in Florida and look very similar, the Banded Sphinx and the Vine Sphinx. We believe this is a Banded Sphinx because of the pink visible on the hind wings. Bill Oehlke has additional information on the Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, on his site.

Letter 8 – Banded Sphinx

 

Emailing: Moth 011, Moth 012, Moth 014
Hi,
I have a catyliad orchid in bloom and noticed this beautiful moth hanging out nearby. I searched the internet to find out what it was and found your site. Are thses moths attracted to orchids? I live in Orlando, FL and this guy was here this past Saturday. He was gone the next day. I don’t know if it’s a vine sphinx or banded sphinx but I was fascinated at the 3D affect of the markings. It looked like inlaid wood! Are these rare or common? Thanks for the great site!
Debe Cummings

Hi Debe,
Both the Banded Sphinx and Vine Sphinx are found in Florida and they resemble one another. We believe your specimen is a Banded Sphinx, the more common species.

Letter 9 – Banded Sphinx

 

what’s this moth?
Hey!
I have used your site many times to identify bugs around my house. I actually have something to submit this time. I skimmed over your moth pics and didn’t see another that resembled the one I found tonight hanging out under my porch light. I live in Memphis, TN and had to take a pic of this ginormous moth. It is the largest moth I have ever seen! Do you know what it is??? And why is that other little bug on him in the side view pic? Is that a leaf hopper?!?! Any info. you can give me would be appreciated! Thanks for your cool site. I love learning about all these interesting bugs! I went back outside to see if it was still there and I touched the wall right next to him with a stick and he spread his wings out. I didn’t know if this might help in identifying him or if you might prefer this pic to the other two in my previous email. I am not sure why it fascinates me so much! 🙂 Thanks again!
Mollie

Hi Mollie,
This is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus. You could not locate a matching specimen on our General Moth pages because we have special pages for Sphinx Moths or Hawkmoths. The caterpillar feeds on a wide variety of plants including grape foilage. The tiny hopper visible on one of your photos is just an accidental interaction since both were attracted to lights.

Letter 10 – Banded Sphinx

 

a moth?
When I was in the yard yesterday, I saw this beautiful insect on my garage wall. I think its a moth, but not certain. I live in Florida, on the Gulf Coast about 35 miles north of Tampa, if that helps. It stayed for over an hour, so I was able to get a really nice picture. Thanks for your help.
Gina

Hi Gina,
We believe this is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, but it might be the closely related Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitus.

Letter 11 – Banded Sphinx

 

Large awesome caterpillar
Hey Bugman!
Can you help in the identification of this huge caterpillar? We found them last Saturday on a plant at the edge of our large pond. They have since (3 of them) completely depleted the leaves of the plant. The nearest plant of the same sort is located 20’ away from where they are. There was also some sort of large green shimmery caterpillar on there as well, but we could not find it Tuesday. I collected them and have been feeding them from the other plant. I have included a picture of the plant, we do not know what it is either(it grows wild around the pond). They have become so large (nearly 4”) they were weighing down the plant to the waters edge, where they will most likely become bass food.. Any help you can give would be appreciated. Do they burrow under ground, if so we will need to put them on the other plant. Your site is fantastic. Thanks for your help!!
Ruby

Hi Ruby,
You didn’t need to look any further than our homepage to find another image of a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciata. It feeds on Ludwigia, the water primrose.

Letter 12 – Banded Sphinx

 

Moth
Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 6:54 PM
Just want to double check this is a “hawk moth”. We had a huge rain and this thing showed up on our screen. We live on Daytona Beach.
Thanks for your help!
Holly
Daytona Beach, Florida

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Hi Holly,
We sometimes confuse two species.  We believe this is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, which can be viewed on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.  The species we confuse it with is the Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitus, which can also ve viewed on Bill Oehlke’s excellent Website.  Our money is on the Banded Sphinx.  Yesterday we lost our internet connectivity and were unable to post any new letters.  Today we are running late and have a very long work day, 14 hours, so we are struggling to post your letter before driving (we usually take the train).

Letter 13 – Banded Sphinx we believe

 

What kind of moth?
September 6, 2009
This unusual moth (to me, anyway!) has been resting on our covered patio during the daylight hours for several days. So far, I have not been able to find a close match…
Thanks!
Deb
Beaumont, Texas

Banded Sphinx we believe
Banded Sphinx we believe

Hi Deb,
There are two closely related moth species that both range in Texas and that look quite similar to one another.  We believe your moth is a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus and you can compare you moth to the images on Bill Oehlke’s awesome website.  The other species is the Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitis, and it can also be viewed on Bill Oehlke’s website.  According to Bill Oehlke, the two moths can be distinguished from one another in the following manner:  “The upperside of the moth [Eumorpha vitis] is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. The hindwing has a pink patch on the inner margin, but lacks the pink along the outer margin, distinguishing it from fasciata.  Note the large brown ‘parallelogram between lowest of three striga upwards toward the transverse lines. In E. fasciatus this same area is very small, almost non-existent.
”  We are unsure of the parallelogram in question, hence our uncertainty as to the exact species.

Letter 14 – Banded Sphinx

 

Vine Sphinx Moth in SE Texas?
Location: Liberty County, Texas
June 11, 2011 6:49 pm
Found this beauty on the passenger front tire of my ’72 Imperial. Spent some time looking on the site, and found a pic of a Vine Sphinx another contributor had sent in, and it was the closest match. Many thanks for the great site
Signature: Johnny in Texas

Banded Sphinx

Dear Johnny,
We ourselves often have a very difficult time distinguishing between two species, the Vine Sphinx,
Eumorpha vitis, and the Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, and we believe this moth is the Banded Sphinx.  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website, the two species are both found in Texas, and you may compare your moth to the images posted there.  The Sphingidae of the Americas page on the Vine Sphinx offers this means to distinguish between the species:  “The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. The hindwing has a pink patch on the inner margin, but lacks the pink along the outer margin, distinguishing it from fasciata.
Note the large brown “parallelogram” between lowest of three striga upwards toward the transverse lines. In E. fasciatus this same area is very small, almost non-existent.”   On BugGuide, the Banded Sphinx is described as having:  “Strong white bands on wings. Brown band on costa (leading edge of forewing) distinguishes from the similar, less widespread, Vine Sphinx, E. vitis.”  Your moth appears to have that brown band on the leading edge of the forewing, hence our opinion that this is a Banded Sphinx.

Letter 15 – Banded Sphinx

 

Black & Beige VERY LARGE insect..
Location: South Florida
July 21, 2011 7:05 am
Am located in South Florida and this insect was on my screen for the entire day. It is approxiamtely 2 1/2” long and is beieg and black. Hopefully, someone will be able to identify it for me. Thanks.
Signature: Terri

Banded Sphinx

Hi Terri,
There are two closely related Sphinx Moths in the genus
Eumorpha that look very similar, and they are easily confused.  You have a Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, and you may read about it on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  BugGuide also has a nice description of the species. The caterpillars feed on plants in the primrose family.

Letter 16 – Banded Sphinx from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Which moth is this?
Location: Boca Tapada, Costa Rica
January 26, 2013 9:22 am
Dear sir,
I found this moth in Costa Rica a few weeks a go, in Boca Tapada, in a lagoon, on a brench. What is it and is it common or rare? Thank you very much in advance !!!!
Signature: M. Van Schaik

Banded Sphinx

Dear M. Van Schaik,
This is a Banded Sphinx Moth,
Eumorpha fasciatus.  It is a wide ranging species that can be found in North America as well as in Argentina.  See the Sphingidae of the Americas for additional information.

Letter 17 – Banded Sphinx from Venezuela

 

Subject: Unidentified moth, from Maracaibo, Venezuela.
Location: Maracaibo, Venezuela
June 2, 2013 10:16 pm
Hey, this guy flew into my room tonight. I’m used to Black witches poping in every now and then but I had never seen one like this. Both the stripe/collor pattern and the shape of the wings were quite distinctive. I was wondering if you could help me identify what kind of moth it is. (Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, but even in spite of it I think the main details can be picked out).
Signature: mudo

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Dear mudo,
Most of our reports of Banded Sphinxes, Eumorpha fasciatus, are from North America, but we verified on the Sphingidae of the Americas website that it does range to South America including Venezuela.

Letter 18 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject: Do you know what this is?
Location: SW FL
April 17, 2014 6:36 pm
I live in South West Florida and on the morning of 4/17/14 this creature was on my door when I exited my house. There is no direct sun at my door. There is a flowering bush about 10 meters away. I’ve never seen anything like this. Can you help me find out what it is? Thank you.
Signature: Tamara

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Hi Tamara,
This beautiful moth is known as a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and you may read more about the species on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Letter 19 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject: Moth of some sort?
Location: Venice Florida
September 12, 2014 4:00 am
This was taken in early September in Venice Florida on The outside open the screen to an apartment porch.. The temperature was close to 90°F, and the humidity was quite high – like 95%
Signature: Tony Lincoln

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Hi Tony,
This striking moth is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and according to the Sphingidae of the Americas site:  “The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. The hindwing has a pink patch on the inner margin and pink along the outer margin, distinguishing it from vitis.”  Your individual has enough of the underwings showing in the attached image, revealing the pink outer margin, the identifying feature.

Letter 20 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject: Is this a type of moth?
Location: Haines City. Florida
August 4, 2015 9:06 am
Is this a type of Moth?
Signature: Alex Dove

Banded Sphinx
Banded Sphinx

Dear Alex,
Your moth is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and you can compare your image to this image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on Evening Primrose, Oenothera species, Water Primrose, Ludwigia species, and other related plants (Onagraceae).  Adults are crepuscular to nocturnal and feed on nectar.”

Letter 21 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  Appeared before Hurricane Irma
Geographic location of the bug:  Sebring FL
Date: 09/14/2017
Time: 05:06 PM EDT
There were two of these, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of one with some pink on its wings
How you want your letter signed —
Denise

Banded Sphinx

Dear Denise,
We hope your life is returning to normal after Hurricane Irma.  Based on images and information on The Sphingidae of the Americas, we are quite confident this is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus.

Letter 22 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  Beautiful art deco moth!
Geographic location of the bug:  South Florida
Date: 08/28/2018
Time: 11:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I spotted this beautiful fella in Sarasota, Florida. He was so striking I had to stop and take a picture! I’m wondering what species he is. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Alys

Banded Sphinx

Dear Alys,
The beautiful Banded Sphinx is described on Sphingidae of the Americas: “The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. “

Letter 23 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  What type of moth is this
Geographic location of the bug:  33063, Margate FL
Date: 09/25/2018
Time: 02:17 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This was hanging around hiding from the sun for a bit just wondering what it is
How you want your letter signed:  AJ Hait

Banded Sphinx

Dear AJ Hait,
This striking moth is a Banded Sphinx.

Letter 24 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  Identify moth?
Geographic location of the bug:  DEERFIELD BEACH FLORIDA
Date: 10/14/2019
Time: 01:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  this moth? Is hanging from my back porch screen. We live on a canal close to Intercoastal waterway in south Florida
How you want your letter signed:  Vicki

Banded Sphinx

Dear Vicki,
Based on images and information on Sphingidae of the Americas, we are confident this is a Banded Sphinx.

Letter 25 – Banded Sphinx

 

Subject:  Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Nc
Date: 08/14/2021
Time: 09:36 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Do you know what this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Pamela Grissom

Banded Sphinx

Dear Pamela,
This is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus.  According to BugGuide:  “Strong white bands on wings. Brown band on costa (leading edge of forewing) distinguishes from the similar, less widespread, Vine Sphinx, E. vitis.”

Letter 26 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Subject: Huge caterpillar
Location: St Augustine, FL
September 12, 2013 5:12 pm
Can you tell me what this huge caterpillar is?
Signature: Misti

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Misti,
This beautiful caterpillar is a Banded Sphinx Caterpillar,
Eumorpha fasciatus

Letter 27 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Subject: Worm help!
Location: 32.447175,-95.130009
August 13, 2015 9:10 am
Hello Mr. Bugman! Found this little guy catching the sunset on the grass about 2 feet away from the pond. Did quite a bit of googling. All I found remotely similar is the Horn-worm, but I have only come across green horn-worms..none that are brightly colored like this!
Signature: by the President, please. Just kidding, Kelsey is fine.

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear President Kelsey,
Just out of curiosity, when you are asked where you are from, do you answer “32.447175,-95.130009?”  This is a Hornworm in the genus Eumorpha, and members of the genus often lose the horn as they molt into fully grown caterpillars.  Your individual is a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus. 

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Thank you very much! They turn into sweet moths I see. Have a good one Doc.!

Letter 28 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

 

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
September 24, 2015 3:38 pm
Found this big ol guy crossing the street headed to our pond. Can’t seem to figure out what he is!
Signature: The Castro Family

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Castro Family,
This magnificent caterpillar is a Banded Sphinx Caterpillar,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and you can compare your individual to this image from BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on Evening Primrose, Oenothera species, Water Primrose, Ludwigia species, and other related plants (Onagraceae).”  Most Sphinx Moth caterpillars pupate underground, and we suspect this large individual stopped feeding and was looking for a good location to dig underground to commence metamorphosis.  This is such a great image illustrating a child’s wonder with the natural world that we have decided to feature your submission.

Thanks for the help!! We spent a Looooooooong time researching and couldn’t find  out what it was!! Interesting that it feeds on water plants! No wonder it was by our pond!!
That’s so cool you’re going to feature our photo! Where can we see it? On your website?
Thanks again for the help! We can complete our nature journal entry! 🙂
Heidi E Castro

Letter 29 – Banded Sphinx: Caterpillar and Moth

 

Eumorpha fasciata?
Wonderful website… was able to id (I think) the adult Eumorpha fasciata from links provided by your site and in the process began to see larva pix. Got to thinking about some pix I took a year ago of a critter feeding on Ludwigia sp. and I do believe they are the same species. The larva was found at my Dad’s home in Mims, FL on 061305 & the adult was found at my home (on the carport at night) in Lake Kissimmee State Park in Lake Wales, FL on 071406. Can you confirm my ID and please share the photo’s as I did not see this species on your site? Thanks much-
Katrina
Holten, Lake Wales, FL

Hi Katrina,
You are correct with your identification. We have photos of both adult and larval forms of the Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, but we have three sphinx moth pages and six caterpillar pages to look through. Your letter is the first with both stages sent together.

Letter 30 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar found swimming in Kentucky

 

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Subject: large caterpillar swimming
Location: Western Kentucky
October 10, 2014 1:33 pm
I had never seen a caterpillar swim before. We were walking along a creek when we saw this large caterpillar “swimming”. It would bend it’s self almost in half to the left, then straighten out, then bend in the opposite direction and straighten out. It propelled it’s self through the water this way. It crawled along a leaf and stick, then set off swimming again for the bank. It was the size of a tobacco horn worm, but much more colorful. I have gone through several pages of your caterpillars and can find nothing close to this one. It was very colorful in the striping, and had a red head, can you tell me what it was, and which one of the large silk moths or sphinx moths it will become? It was seen In Western Kentucky in September of this year (2014)
PS: I have sent this picture and request twice before with no response. I am sending it again as I really want to know what it was.
Signature: Janet Fox

Hi Janet,
First we want to apologize for not responding on your first two attempts.  We really do have a skeleton crew and we do not have the man power to respond to every request.  Even if we did not have gainful employment forcing us to leave our comfortable home office, we still would not be able to effectively respond to all the mail we receive.  Had we known that you had such an exceptional image of a Banded Sphinx Caterpillar to accompany your unusual sighting, you would most certainly have gotten a response on your first attempt.  The Banded Sphinx Caterpillar,
Eumorpha fasciatus, is a variably colored and marked caterpillar with this particular bold and colorful pattern being the most memorable.  You can see more images and read more about the life history of the Banded Sphinx on the Sphingidae of the United States site.  The adult Banded Sphinx is a gorgeous moth.  This is the second account we have received of Banded Sphinx Caterpillars found in water.  We wonder if they are subject to parasites that cause them to drown themselves like Potato Bugs have when infected with Horsehair Worms.

Daniel,
Thank you for helping me identify my swimmer.  I thought it would have had to have been a silk moth or sphinx moth due to it’s size.
I had never seen one swim before.  I was so amazed, later I kicked myself for not taking a video of it instead of still shots.
Live and learn.  Next time, if I ever see another one swim, I will video it.
Thanks again.
Janet Fox

Letter 31 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar from Peru

 

Subject: Caterpillar – Manu Reserve Zone, Peru
Location: Manu Reserve Zone, Peru
October 16, 2016 12:19 pm
We found this lovely caterpillar just off a river bank. It was pretty large and eating the plant it was on.
Signature: Andy

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Andy,
This is the Caterpillar of a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus, and because it is a species also found in North America, we quickly recognized it.  The caterpillars of the Banded Sphinx are quite variable, and this is probably the most dramatic color pattern.  We verified its identity by matching it to this BugGuide image, and we verified on Sphingidae of the Americas that the species if found in Peru.  Duty calls us away from the office for a few days, so we will be post-dating your submission to go live during our absence later in the week.

Letter 32 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillar: Saved from drowning!!!

 

Sphinx?
Location:  East Texas
October 19, 2010 11:35 am
Hi!
We found this poor caterpillar in our koi pond in East Texas and rescued him before he drowned. We think it might be some kind of sphinx moth, but we aren’t sure.
Signature:  Kate

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Kate,
The caterpillar you rescued is that of a Banded Sphinx,
Eumorpha fasciatus.  This is a highly variable caterpillar and some individuals are green, some brown, and other have intricate markings like your individual.  You can see these other variations on Bill Oehlke’s website Sphingidae of the Americas.

Letter 33 – Banded Sphinx Caterpillars: light and dark morphs

 

Very Pretty Caterpillar
October 19, 2009
Hello, I found alot of these caterpillars all living on the same type of weed on my property. They are in various colors. I even found one with wasp eggs attached.
Frankie B Norris
Central Florida

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Frankie,
The Banded Sphinx, Eumorpha fasciatus, is one of several Sphinx Moths with highly variable caterpillars.  Though the darker colorful caterpillar is a version well represented in our archives, we believe the lighter morph is a new color variation that is not represented in our archives.  Bill Oehlke’s excellent website illustrates both of these color variations as well as several others.  The Banded Sphinx Caterpillars are known to feed on “primrose-willow, Ludwigia (water primrose) and other plants in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae). Grapes also serve as larval hosts.”

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar
Banded Sphinx Caterpillar

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

6 thoughts on “Banded Sphinx Moth: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell”

  1. March 22, 2018
    One of these is has been hanging out all day on my Tower Garden spinach plant in Coral Springs, FL. I’m guessing it’s nocturnal and maybe female because it has the same lines but no pink. Does anyone know what it’s host plant is? Is this moth going to eat all my edible plants?

    Reply
  2. March 22, 2018
    One of these is has been hanging out all day on my Tower Garden spinach plant in Coral Springs, FL. I’m guessing it’s nocturnal and maybe female because it has the same lines but no pink. Does anyone know what it’s host plant is? Is this moth going to eat all my edible plants?

    Reply

Leave a Comment