Bug of the Month February 2013: Streaked Sphinx Moths in Florida

Subject: Fuzzy cocoon? streaked sphinx moth and fuzzy thing attatched to column in ft Myers beach fl
Location: ft Myers beach Florida
January 30, 2013 9:49 pm
Dear Bugman,
I saw a couple streaked sphynx moths and wanted to share the picture, I touched it and it got scared and started flitting its wings really fast and it showed an orange patch, I think it was to scare predators. I also would like it if you could identify this cocoon, there were tons all over colums where I am staying, through the ”fur” I could see some shiny brown, this particular one was about an inch (maybe a little smaller since my sense of measurement lacks). Thank you!
Signature: Moth Ninja

Streaked Sphinx

Dear Moth Ninja,
Thank you so much for providing your photos of a Streaked Sphinx,
Protambulyx strigilis, for our archive.  According to BugGuide:  ” Host plants are various woody plants in the cashew family (Anacardiaceae), primarily Brazilian peppertree – Schinus terebinthifolius. Larva also on Anacardium, Spondias, Erythroxylon, Comocladia.”  We will get back to you on the cocoon.

Streaked Sphinx

Ed. Note: February 1, 2013
It is time for a new Bug of the Month and we just received a comment from a reader indicating another sighting of a Streaked Sphinx, but alas, without a photo.  We returned to BugGuide to research a bit more on this moth, and we learned:  “Adults recorded year round in Florida.”  BugGuide also has this set of remarks, which caused us to ponder climate change, as we frequently do:  “First US record of Protambulyx strigilis (Linnaeus) from Palm Beach, FL. (Barnes and McDunnough 1910)  Kimball (1965) reported only a few subsequent FL records, most of which he considered questionable. Note, Carter’s Sphinx – Protambulyx carteri Rothschild & Jordan, 1903 has long been common in Florida.”
  This is basically a neotropical species that is recorded in southern Texas and Florida, but it seems sightings are becoming more common.  If there is actually global warming, insects are a perfect place to look for evidence.  If sightings were first recorded in the early twentieth century, that is concurrent with the proliferation of factories that began producing goods that were needed for an ever increasing global population.  More information on the Streaked Sphinx can be found on Sphingidae of the Americas.


11 thoughts on “Bug of the Month February 2013: Streaked Sphinx Moths in Florida”

  1. We saw our first streaked sphinx moth on Wednesday afternoon, January 30, 2013. It was on the lawn near our house in Nokomis, FL. A large and beautiful moth!

    • Thank you for letting our readers know that they might want to be on the lookout for Streaked Sphinx Moths in Florida right now. We need to select a new bug of the month for February 2013 and your comment has caused us to tag the original posting with this distinction.

      • Was researching a large moth that flew into my mother -in-laws garage during a rain storm this past weekend and found this sight and your Feb 2013 bug of the month. I believe it was a Streaked Sphinx Moth. She lives in Brookings, South Dakota. Have you ever heard of them so far north? definitely a first for me.

        • BugGuide only reports Streaked Sphinx Moths from Florida, but they are a long lived species and they are strong fliers. That said, while it is possible the sighting was of a Streaked Sphinx, we think it is highly more likely to have been another, more local member of the family Sphingidae.

  2. Hello!
    I’ve just found this Streaked Sphinx moth on my window at my work this morning. I’m not sure how important it is but I’ve seen it’s a uncommon find. I can provide a picture if you like too.

    Thank you.

  3. Port St. Lucie, FL. 01/03/2019. This moth was on my grill cover. It fell off when I took cover off and has not moved since.. about 1 hr ago. I have pictures to send if I can download on this website


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