Hawk moths range in size from
1-1/2 to 6 inches in length. They are easily
identified by their stout bodies, obvious head,
and large eyes. The forewings are typically long
and narrow, and much larger than the hind wings.
The abdomen is large, with a tapered cigar-shape
appearance. Most sphinx moths are brownish, often
marked with a bright color.
Hawk moths have the longest
tongues of all lepidopterans, up to 14 inches
long in many species.
Distribution and Habitat
There are about 850 species of
hawk moths worldwide, with the highest diversity
being in wet tropical regions. They are common in
woodlands, meadows, and gardens.
Eggs are laid singly on the
underside of the larval food plant, with up to
100 or more eggs being laid per season.
A sphinx moth caterpillar can
usually be identified by the "horn" at
the rear of the body. Some caterpillars have
lateral stripes and/or large eye spots on the
thorax and abdominal segments.
When ready to pupate, the
caterpillar will move down into the leaf litter
and make a rough open cocoon or cell on soil
surface. The pupal stage lasts 1-25 weeks.
Adult sphinx moths live several
weeks, during which time they feed often, breed,
and lay eggs.
genera & species
Cephonodes kingii bee hawk moth
Cizara ardeniae cizara hawk moth
Coequosa triangularis double-headed hawk
Hippotion celerio grapevine hawk moth
Psilogramma menephron privet hawk moth
Theretra latreilla pale brown hawk moth
Theretra oldenlandiae impatiens hawk
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