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Insects and other arthropods

Abbott’s sphinx

Sphecodina abbottii

Tabs group


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.

Life cycle

These sphinx moths produce two generations a year in the southern part of their range, and only one farther north. They pupate and overwinter in underground burrows.

Geographic distribution

The species occurs in central and northeastern North America.


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