Small Eyed Sphinx

Stealth Bomber…or a moth!
April 18, 2010
I’ve tried on my own and I can’t identify this moth. He was so pretty and sleek.
1 1/2″, maybe 2″ August evening on Vermont/Canada border. I hope I can get the photo to upload. I did put the bruiser back out for the night!!
On my shoulder, Newport Vermont

Small Eyed Sphinx

Dear Jane,
You are not the first person who wrote to us comparing Sphinx Moths or Hawkmoths in the family Sphingidae to a stealth bomber, so we were curious what that would reveal in our search engine.  Sometimes we lose touch with our readership because we are so used to our website, so we decided to put ourselves in your shoes and attempt an identification.  We typed in stealth bomber moth and found this page:
?s=stealth+bomber+moth which produced two old posts of related but different species, one from 2004. We believe an observant person might see the family resemblance, but we would never disparage anyone for being unable to negotiate the vastness of our archives, because we have been known to search our own site for up to fifteen minutes trying to pin down some elusive memory we have of the same species or a related species, perhaps as long as ten years ago.
At any rate, this is Paonias myops, also known as a Small Eyed Sphinx which is well described on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website.

Hello Daniel,
Thank you so much for identifying this fellow for me!  I had NEVER seen such a creature before the night he decided to land on my shoulder!  I’m not that “up” on the bug world but I knew this couldn’t be a butterfly so it must be a moth.  I’ll have to do more reading because to see this creature in the flesh, he looked like he was covered with fur; just so sleek!  But I don’t suppose it’s fur!
Bill Oehlke does have an excellent site; I wandered around it for quite a while.  One thing he does is show the caterpillar stage and then the “adult”.  I garden a lot in the summer (in Vermont) and see lots of interesting caterpillars.  Unless I educate myself, though, I don’t know if I’m seeing a good guy or a bad guy!!  As in, harmful versus beneficial.
I’m just so tickled that you wrote back.  You also identified my grapevine beetle that I submitted the other night.
Isn’t the internet grand?!
Jane Housewright

Hi again Jane,
The moth does have a furry appearance, but the fur actually consists of modified scales.

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