Sphinx moth? Which species?
I just found your site via google and am delighted with the questions, answers, and photos! We live in southern West Virginia, near the New River Gorge, surrounded by many acres of tall second-growth poplar, oak, maple, beech, and hemlock. I found a lovely golden moth with a plump, fuzzy gold body on my office screen this morning. I think it’s a Sphinx moth, but my most complete reference book (Golden Guide to Butterflies and Moths!) doesn’t have an image that matches it. Then, this afternoon my husband found four moth wings in the garage, under the 66 Mustang he’s restoring, and I thought they looked like the wings on “my” moth, so I took some photos. Here are two: one of “my” moth and “his” wings; the other of the moth (now “ours”) alone. What, please, is the name of our moth?
Ellen Scheel and Julian Skaggs
Hi Ellen and Julian,
Your moth is not a Sphinx, but a Giant Silkworm or Saturnid Moth. It is a male Io Moth, Automeris io. These are beautiful moths. The female has brown upper wings. The caterpillar has stinging spines. Your moth probably did not really meet an untimely end since they live only to mate and do not eat as adults.