Obscure Sphinxes, we believe

Subject: Insect in AZ
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
January 20, 2015 1:15 pm
I have 2 different photos that were taken in Scottsdale, AZ in Dec 2014. I think they are moths. These insects were gone the next day and have not been seen since. They were on our home and close to our grapefruit tree.
Signature: Stan

Obscure Sphinx
Obscure Sphinx

Dear Stan,
We believe these are Obscure Sphinxes,
Erinnyis obscura, or another species in the same genus.  The scalloped wing edges are distinctive.  This image on BugGuide looks very close, and additional images are on the Sphingidae of the Americas site.  We have written to Sphingidae expert Bill Oehlke for confirmation.

Obscure Sphinx
Obscure Sphinx

Bill Oehlke confirms genus, and provides options for species
They certainly appear to be Erinnyis species and could be obscura (note spelling). They could also be E. domingonis. I think there is some disagreement as to whether or not obscura and domingonis are synonymous or distinct species. I also could not rule out variation of E. ello. I would have to see hindwings in order to be more posititve. Markings on the thorax do not seem to be a positive match for any of the three species I mention. My first choice, if I had to make one, would be Erinnyis obscura.

One more thing Bill.  I was linking to the other species on your site and E. domingonis is not listed in Arizona.
Do you think that might still be a possibility?

Good point! E. domingonis, if it is a valid species, would  very unlikely be found in Arizona as closest location so far to AZ is Texas. The other two, though, are known from Arizona.

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