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Elm sphinx

Ceratomia amyntor

These large brown moths with their elongated wings have wingspans of up to 11.5 cm. The wings are light brown with white and dark brown markings. The thorax is quite hairy.

The large green or brown caterpillars have four horn-shaped growths near the head and a spine at the tip of the abdomen. The body has a small light-coloured ridge running its length and light diagonal lines on the sides.

Abbott’s sphinx

Sphecodina abbottii

These moths’ wings have scalloped margins. The forewings are brown with lighter markings, and the hindwings are yellow with dark edges. In flight they can be confused with bumble bees, since they emit a buzzing sound as they forage among flowers.

The females are nocturnal, while the males are crepuscular (active at sunset).

When at rest, they perch on the bark of a tree and curve their abdomens upward between the wings. Their wingspan ranges from 5.1 to 7 cm.

The young caterpillars are green, with a horn-shaped growth at the tip of the abdomen. Later, after one moult, they turn whitish or bluish-green. The “horn” disappears and is replaced by a rounded orange knob. In the last instar, the caterpillar reaches 7.5 cm and has two forms: either brown, or with 10 pale green spots on a brown background. In both cases, there is a growth resembling a large eye at the tip of the abdomen.

Waved sphinx

Ceratomia undulosa

These large moths are recognizable by their hairy bodies and pale grey or light brown wings marked with wavy black and white lines. There is also a small roundish spot on each of the forewings. At rest, the triangular forewings completely cover the hindwings. These moths have a wingspan of up to 11 cm. They are among the most common sphinx moths.

The caterpillars are green, sometimes reddish-brown, with a pinkish spine at the tip of the abdomen. They have seven light slanted lines on each side of the body. In the final instar, the caterpillars may measure up to 7.5 cm.

Modest sphinx moths

Pachysphinx modesta

These are large moths, with a wingspan of 9 to 14 cm. The forewings are marked with bands alternating between grey and brown. The hindwings are reddish, and bluish-grey at the base.

Mature female caterpillars can reach 9 cm. Male caterpillars are generally shorter (7.5 cm).

Hummingbird moths

Hemaris thysbe

These stocky moths have a wingspan of 3.8 to 5.5 cm and a relatively long proboscis. The narrow, pointed forewings are much larger than the hindwings. All four wings have patches free of scales, except on the veins. These transparent sections are surrounded by a border varying in colour from purplish-red to dark brown. The base of the wings and the front half of the body are olive green, as is the abdomen, which also has reddish bands.

Sphinx moths


These moths, with a wingspan of 3 to 20 cm, have stocky bodies and long, colourful aerodynamic wings. They have powerful muscles for flying and beat their wings very rapidly.

Several species have a long proboscis that they use to suck up nectar from flowers with deep corollas.

Some sphinx moths have no scales on part of their wings, and resemble large bumble bees.

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