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*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Adult Moths of Order Lepidoptera — Examples
For adult butterflies, click here.
For moth/butterfly caterpillars and pupae, click here.


Now on THREE pages

Families represented — Page 1 (current page):
Apatelodidae Eupterotidae Geometridae Saturniidae Sphingidae Uraniidae
Page 2:
Erebidae Euteliidae Lasiocampidae Noctuidae Notodontidae
Page 3:
Adelidae Attevidae Batrachedridae Blastobasidae Choreutidae Cossidae Crambidae Depressariidae Gelechiidae
Limacodidae Oecophoridae Psychidae Pterophoridae Pyralidae Schreckensteiniidae Sesiidae Thyrididae Tineidae Tortricidae

Geometridae, the geometer moths

Pero moths, Paro spp.
Pero moths, mating pair, in the genus Pero, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
Pero moths in the genus Pero, are highly variable and individuals from different species often look alike, so distinguishing between species can be very challenging. These photos of a mating pair show the male and female with their wings folded and spread.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: Julian Donahue, entomologist (ret.), Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. KnowYourInsects.org lightened Thomas’ amazing nighttime photo to show detail, but you can see his original full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 19 May, 2017.
Moth (Pero spp.)
Pero moth, pupa and adult, in the genus Pero, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ This photo shows the pupa (top) of this pero moth and the adult moth that emerged from it. The pupa was photographed a month before the adult moth.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: Julian Donahue, entomologist (ret.), Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. See Thomas’ full-size image of the adult moth here, and of the pupa here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 19 April, 2017 (pupa) and 19 May, 2017 (adult).
Thomas says, he uncovered seven of the 7/8-inch-long pupae “while removing grass and weeds from a small pile of dirt that was my last compost heap.”
Moth (Pero spp.)
Pero moth in the genus Pero, possibly Pero mizon, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
Pero moths in the species Pero mizon typically have a thin white band on each forewing with dark shading above it, as see here.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 3 October, 2020.
Thomas says, “Sitting on the edge of a sliding door. Length about 18 mm, wingspread about 24 mm.”
Clouded Silver moth (Lomographa temerata)
Clouded silver moth, Lomographa temerata, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The “clouded” part of the clouded silver is the dark smudge at the rear of the forewings. This species often appears grayer than the brown seen here.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 29 July, 2018.
Scalloped Oak Moth (Crocallis elinguaria)
Scalloped oak moth, Crocallis elinguaria, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ This scalloped oak moth looks similar to the feathered thorn moth (Colotois pennaria), but the area between the two thin stripes on each wing is a noticeably darker color than seen in the feathered thorn moth. To see the feathered thorn moth, click here (inaturalist.org).
Photographed by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 2011.
Add your photo here!
Slant-Lines Moth (Tetracis spp.)
A geometer moth, possibly a slant-lines moth in the genus Tetracis, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
Slant-lines moths typically have one or two thin bands that run across each forewing. In some species, the one or both bands are faint, but this one has a quite noticeable band plus a very faint one.
Photographed and identified to order by: Judy Cok. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Castro Valley, California, USA. Date: 8 March, 2020.
Omnivorous Looper  (Sabulodes aegrotata)
Omnivorous looper, Sabulodes aegrotata, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
Omnivorous loopers may have very obvious or more subtle banding on the wings. In some individuals, the bands instead look like a row of widely spaced dark spots.
□ The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants, including the leaves of fruit trees, maples, and numerous other trees. They also occasionally chew on newly forming fruit.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here, Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 9 August, 2023.
Thomas says this moth measured about 2 inches (5 cm) in wingspan.
Swallow-Tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)
Swallow-tailed moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The soft beige banding on this swallow-tailed moth gives it a neat appearance. This species is a large moth with a wingspan of up to 5 cm (2 inches). Note: There is another family of moths known as swallow-tailed moths, the Uraniidae. To see the moths in the family Uraniidae, click here.
Photographed and identified to order by: John Serenyi. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Near Cheltenham, UK. Date: 1 July, 2019.
Common Angle Moth (Macaria aemulataria)
Common angle moth, Macaria aemulataria, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ A characteristic of the common angle moth is the dark blotch on each forewing — the blotch is split into five pieces as seen here.
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s cool slow-motion nature video here. Location: Camp Meeting Creek near Kerrville, Texas. Date: 27 April, 2019.
Angle Moth (Macaria spp)
Angle moth in the genus Macaria, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ This angle moth has faint markings, so it could be one of three similar species in this genus: Macaria bisignata, M. aemulataria, or M. promiscuata.
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. Nicely done, Robert! See Robert’s cool slow-motion nature video here. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Camp Meeting Creek near Kerrville, Texas. Date: 29 August, 2021.
Geometrid Moth (Pterotaea lamiaria)
A geometrid moth, possibly Pterotaea lamiaria; or common gray, Anavitrinella pampinaria, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
Geometrid moths in the two species Pterotaea lamiaria and Anavitrinella pampinaria have quite a bit of variation, including many with no discernable pattern to make identification easy. If you happen to be a moth expert and would like to help with a definitive identification, please contact us!
Photographed and identified to order by: John Vixie. Identified to subfamily by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Fresno area, central California, USA. Date: 22 September, 2019.
Crocus geometer, Xanthotype
A geometer in the genus Xanthotype, possibly a crocus geometer Xanthotype sospeta) or false crocus geometer (Xanthotype urticaria), subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ Five species of the Xanthotype genus of geometer moths live in North America, and they look almost identical (just very minor differences in male reproductive parts). This could be either a crocus geometer or a false crocus geometer, because only these two live in New York, where this photo was taken.
Photographed by: DB Goddard. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Eastern Dutchess County, New York, USA. Date: 2 August, 2022.
Crocus geometer, Xanthotype spp.
A geometer in the genus Xanthotype, possibly crocus geometer Xanthotype sospeta) or false crocus geometer (Xanthotype urticaria), subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The five species of this genus of geometer moths are all butter-yellow and decorated with brown speckles and splotches. This one was photographed in Missouri, where two species are especially common: crocus geometer and false crocus geometer.
Photographed and identified by: Gail Rowley, Ozark Stream Photography. Location: Texas County, Missouri, USA.. Date: 28 May, 2016.
Clouded Magpie Moth (Abraxas spp.)
Clouded magpie moth in the genus Abraxas, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ Several species of clouded magpie moths live in Hong Kong, where this photo was taken. All of members of the Abraxas genus look nearly identical as adults. Caterpillars of these species are easier to tell apart.
Photographed by: David Dodwell. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hong Kong. Date: 30 May, 2022.
Brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)
Brimstone moth, Opisthograptis luteolata, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The brimstone moth is readily identified by its sunshine-yellow wings with reddish-brown border decorations, as seen above. It is distinct from the larger brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni) — both occur in the UK, where this moth was photographed. To see the brimstone butterfly, click here (inaturalist.org).
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Well done on the ID, Bryan! Location: Near Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 18 April, 2024.
Bryan says, “This is the first I have heard of, or seen, a brimstone moth, so in my excitement wanted to send it to you.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Thank you, Bryan!”
A geometer moth (Drepanulatrix secundaria)
Drepanulatrix secundaria (no specific common name), male, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The Drepanulatrix secundaria has tan forewings with a tiny black dot in about the center, evenly spaced tiny black dots along the edges, and an uneven row of larger brown blotches.
□ It is a moth of western North America.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 16 August, 2023.
Gray moth (Iridopsis spp.)
Gray moth in the genus Iridopsis, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The genus Iridopsis includes several gray moth species that are difficult to differentiate because each species is quite variable with the number and distribution of flecks and lines on its wings. The moth at left was photographed on a window, and shows the dorsal and ventral views. The moth at right was photographed a week later on a leaf.
Photographed and identified to family by: Robert E. Carpenter. Nicely done, Robert! See Robert’s cool slow-motion nature video here. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 13 and 20, October 2022.
Black Looper (Hyposidra talaca)
Geometrid moth, possibly a black looper, Hyposidra talaca, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The black looper is a pest of tea plants and will defoliate these plants. It is also a pest of other cash crops, such as teak.
Photographed and identified to order by: Shefali Chaudhari. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Malotha, Tapi, Gujarat, India. Date: 22 December, 2018.
Neave's Highflier (Pitthea neavei)
Neave’s highflier, Pitthea neavei, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
Neave’s highflier has two colored bands on each forewing, and one on each hindwing. In this photo, the band on the hindwing lines up perfectly with one of the bands on the forewing. The bands may be yellow to yellow-green, as seen here, or yellow-orange. It typically has a couple of small orange smudges (just visible in the photo above) at the border of each hindwing.
Photographed by: Sarah Park. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Central African Republic. Date: 8 January, 2024.
Maple Spanworm Moth (Ennomos magnaria)
Maple spanworm moth, male, Ennomos magnaria, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The maple spanworm moth has brown-speckled, orangish yellow wings with ruffly edges. The ruffle gives it the alternate common name of notched-wing moth. The male, as shown, has feathery antennae; the female’s antennae are narrow.
□ The caterpillar looks so much like a twig that people rarely notice it. To see its amazing mimickry click here (BugGuide.net).
Photographed by: JustARandomGuyOnline. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Indiana, USA. Date: 17 October, 2023.
Large Maple Spanworm Moth (Prochoerodes lineola)
Large maple spanworm moth, Prochoerodes lineola, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The large maple spanworm moth has a wingspan of about 2 inches (5 cm). This species has quite a lot of variation. Most, like this one, have wings that split between a light-brown color and a slightly darker brown with the two colors separated by a thin, dark line. Some also have a zig-zag line through the hindwings, and yet another swerved line through the forewings.
Photographed and identified to order by: Cathy Dyer. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Date: 6 September, 2019.
Cathy spotted this moth on her birdhouse.
Add your photo here!
Pug Moth, Larch Pug Moth (Eupithecia annulata)
Pug moth, perhaps a larch pug moth, Eupithecia annulata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
Larch pug moths have striped legs, and a thin, broken dark line as well as a series of dark spots on the trailing edge of each wing. These two beautiful photos show the top and bottom views of this moth, which the photographer said had a wingspan of about 21 mm (0.8 inches), and a body of about 8 mm (0.3 inches)long.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified tentatively to genus by: Richard L. Brown, Ph.D., director of the Mississippi Entomological Museum and W.L. Giles Distinguished Professor at Mississippi State University. Thank you, Dr. Brown! See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 28 April, 2018.
Common Eupithecia (Eupithecia miserulata)
Common eupithecia, Eupithecia miserulata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ The common eupithecia is found in the eastern half of the United States, southeastern Canada, and along the U.S. West Coast. The small dark spot on each forewing, as well as the crescent shape separating the abdomen into a front dark section and rear light section help to identify this species.
□ This species is sometimes called a common pug.
Photographed and identified to family by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 7 July, 2020.
Thomas says this one showed up on his screen door, and measured about 22 mm (0.85 inches) in wingspan and 8 mm (0.3 inches) in body length.
Grey Pug Moth (Eupithecia subfuscata)
Grey pug moth, Eupithecia subfuscata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ This grey pug moth has a wing pattern that is reminiscent of brown tweed.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Oxford, England, UK. Date: 22 April, 2018.
Pug Moth, Green Pug (Pasiphila rectangulata or Eupithecia spp.)
Pug moth, perhaps a green pug, Pasiphila rectangulata (but possibly in the genus Eupithecia), subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
Green pug moths can be lime green, bluish green, or mainly shades of brown, as seen here.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified tentatively here (BugGuide). See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 16 May, 2017.
Brown bark carpet moth (Horisme intestinata)
Brown bark carpet moth, Horisme intestinata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ With the wavy brown pattern on its wings, the brown bark carpet moth would be perfectly camouflaged against the bark of a tree.
Photographed by: Denise Rulason. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mayville, Michigan USA. Date: 1 June, 2018.
Wave moth (Coenotephria ablutaria)
Wave moth, Coenotephria ablutaria, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ This species of wave moth is usually seen in the spring and fall in warm, rocky areas. Its caterpillars are eat the leaves of European bedstraw and other plants in the madder (Rubiaceae) family. Note: This moth is sometimes listed in the genus Nebula instead.
Photographed by: Yanni Petropoulos. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: mainland of southwestern Greece. Date: 12 February, 2023.
Winter moth (Operophtera brumata)
Winter moth, male, Operophtera brumata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ The winter moth gets its name because it is active on warmer winter nights. It also is active in the fall. Only the males have fully developed wings and are able to fly. Native to Europe, it is now found in North America as well. For more on this species, click here.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Oxford, England, UK. Date: 14 December, 2020.
Tissue Moth (Triphosa haesitata)
Tissue moth, Triphosa haesitata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ The tissue moth hibernates during cold winter months in caves. For that reason, it is sometimes called a cave moth.
□ The wavy patterning on this moth’s wings can vary quite a bit between individuals, but all of them have the long, sharp scallops along the edge of the hindwings.
Photographed and identified by: Kay. Location: In the foothills of Mount Hood in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Date: 31 March, 2022.
Kay says, “In all the ones I (have seen in the past), the left and right sides were identical. (This one) has such a unique color that isn't mirror image on both sides.”
Yellow Shell Moth (Camptogramma bilineata)
Yellow shell moth, Camptogramma bilineata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ The yellow shell moth does look like like a shell with its intricate wavy patterns in shades of yellow and sometimes orange or peach (like this one); three, thin, zig-zag bands across its forewings; and very thin bands circling its abdomen (barely seen in this photo). Some individuals have a row of faint circles in the middle of each forewing.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Nice ID, Bryan! Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 3 August, 2019.
Bryan says, “Pleased to get a shot of this ... on my morning walk.”
Geometrid Moth (Eois grataria)
Eois grataria (no specific common name), subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
Eois grataria has a maroon-colored, zig-zag pattern and yellow fringe on its wings. Just inside the fringe is a purple band.
Photographed by: Kislay Kunar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northern India. Date: 27 September, 2020.
Rivulet (Epirrhoe alternata)
Perizoma epictata (no specific common name), subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
Perizoma epictata (no specific common name) has a lot of variation, but all individuals have three brown bands, and usually a noticeable row of brown smudgy spots along the bottom edge of the forewings, as shown. This one’s three bands are particularly dark.
Photographed and identified to family by: Nora Schwab. Nicely done, Nora! Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Moss Landing (Monterey County), California, USA. Date: 16 September, 2023.
Nora says she tried to identify “this little charmer” by looking through this website. She adds, “I was mesmerized by most of the incredibly beautiful moths. Perhaps, in another life, I was an avid entomologist. Your entire website is simply fascinating!”
Common Carpet Moth (Epirrhoe alternata)
Common carpet moth, also known as a white-banded toothed carpet moth, Epirrhoe alternata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ The common carpet moth is indeed common in Europe, but is also found in the United States, where it is called the white-banded toothed carpet moth. See the comment below about how it got the name “carpet moth.” Its wingspan is about 2.5 cm (1 inch).
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 28 June, 2018.
Bryan says, “Called a carpet moth because is lays so flat!”
Common Carpet Moth (Epirrhoe alternata)
Common carpet moth, also known as a white-banded toothed carpet moth, Epirrhoe alternata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ The color of these two common carpet moths may be different, but the pattern is the same, including the wide white band and thinner, scalloped band, which is visible in both of these individuals. Both also have a short fringe of hairs at the edge of their wings.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Oxford, England, UK. Date: 11 May, 2018.
Galium Carpet Moth (Epirrhoe galiata)
Galium carpet moth, Epirrhoe galiata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ The galium carpet moth has a broad and wavy dark band across the center of each forewing.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 22 July, 2019.
Epirrhoe
A geometrid moth in the genus Epirrhoe, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ Many of the geometrid moths in the genus Epirrhoe have wavy bands running across the forewings, as seen here. Those waves give rise to the name Epirrhoe, which is Greek for river.
Photographed by: Syed Gazanfar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kashmir, India. Date: 4 April, 2019.
Bad-Wing Moth (Dyspteris abortivaria)
Bad-wing moth, Dyspteris abortivaria, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ The small bad-wing moth has hindwings that do not easily spread (the typical pose for museum collections). The problem is that the hindwings are less than a third of the size of the forewings, so they are “bad” in terms of moving them easily into position. To see the spread wings, click here.
Photographed by: Parker M. Photo. Submitted by Parker’s dad Cass M. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Gwinnett County, Georgia, USA. Date: 28 March, 2023.
Cass says, “It’s a blue-green color.” 
Chickweed Geometer (Haematopis grataria)
Chickweed geometer, Haematopis grataria, subfamily Sterrhinae, family Geometridae.
□ This little chickweed geometer has raspberry streaks on a yellow background. Its genus name of Haematopis (haema is a Greek for blood) is believed to refer to the reddish, blood-like color of the streaks, although they are actually more pink than blood-red.
□ The chickweed geometer caterpillar feeds on chickweed (Stellaria media), as well as a number of other plants.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Nicely done, Kelly! Location: Michigan, USA. Date: 10 August, 2012.
Sweet-fern Geometer Moth (Cyclophora pendulinaria)
Sweet-fern geometer moth, Cyclophora pendulinaria, subfamily Sterrhinae, family Geometridae.
□ The sweet-fern geometer moth is white speckled with black or gray, which gives it an overall light-gray appearance. It also has a single, black-circled, white spot on each of its four wings. It feeds on sweet-fern (Comptonia peregrina), a common plant in Michigan, where this moth was found.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Houghton Lake, Michigan, USA. Date: 9 August, 2021.
Geometrid Moth (Comostola chlorargyra)
Comostola chlorargyra (no specific common name), subfamily Geometrinae, family Geometridae.
Comostola chlorargyra is found from India to the Philippines and south to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Photographed by: Kislay Kunar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northern India. Date: 19 September, 2020.
Geometrid moth, Thalassodes or Pelagodes spp.
A geometrid moth in the genus Thalassodes or Pelagodes, subfamily Geometrinae, family Geometridae.
□ The lime-green color of this geometrid moth is a stand-out! Note: The genus Thalassodes has now been split into four genera — Thalassodes, Pelagodes, Orothalassodes and Remiformvalva — and this moth can be found in the literature listed as both Thalassodes and Pelagodes.
Photographed by: Debajit Saha. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: West Bengal, India. Date: 5 June, 2018.
Geometrid moth, Thalassodes or Pelagodes spp.
A geometrid moth in the genus Thalassodes or Pelagodes, subfamily Geometrinae, family Geometridae.
□ The photographer describes this geometrid moth as a light-blue or sapphire in color. Note: The genus Thalassodes has now been split into four genera, and this moth can be found in the literature listed as two of them: Thalassodes or Pelagodes.
Photographed by: Syed Gazanfar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kashmir, India. Date: 2 September, 2018.
Showy Emerald (Dichorda iridaria)
Showy emerald, Dichorda iridaria, subfamily Geometrinae, family Geometridae.
□ Several white-striped, green moths live in North America, but this showy emerald has broader white stripes that are bordered by a shadow of darker green, and a little grayish brown color at the leading edge of the forewings (just visible near the head in this shot).
Photographed by: Kim Minard. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Seeley’s Bay, Ontario, Canada. Date: 31 July, 2020.
Moth
A false tiger moth in the genus Dysphania, subfamily Geometrinae, family Geometridae.
□ This is a compilation photo of one of the species of false tiger moths in the genus Dysphania. The left half of the image is a dorsal (top) view, and the right half is a ventral (bottom) view. This is likely the yellow false tiger moth (Dysphania sagana), which has an all-yellow abdomen. The similar-looking false tiger moth (Dysphania militaris) has a series of thin black bands on its abdomen.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Eric Blehaut. Location: Bang Krang, Nonthaburi, Thailand. Date: 1 August, 2022.
False tiger moth (Dysphania militaris)
False tiger moth, Dysphania militaris, subfamily Geometrinae, family Geometridae.
□ Caught in flight, this false tiger moth is showing black, broken banding on its abdomen, which sets this species apart from two similar-looking moths: the yellow false tiger moth (Dysphania sagana), which lacks the abdominal banding; and the Dysphania subrepleta, which has complete black bands on its abdomen.
Photographed and identified by: Eric Blehaut. Great ID, Eric! Location: Bang Krang, Nonthaburi, Thailand. Date: 4 December, 2023.
Insect facts
□ Most moths and butterflies have wings that look much different when viewed from the top (dorsally) or the bottom (ventrally). False tiger moths are among the exceptions: the two sides are nearly identical.
Try the key! Moth
A geometrid moth in the family Geometridae.
□ Reader Anindya Paul suggests that this looks like a member of the genus Aethalura.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’s full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 24 February, 2017.
Geometrid moth
A geometrid moth in the family Geometridae.
□ These photos of a geometrid moth show the bottom (ventral) and top (dorsal) views. If you know the identity of this moth, please email us!
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: Julian Donahue, entomologist (ret.), Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 16 May, 2017.
Geometrid Moth
A geometrid moth in the family Geometridae.
□ If you know the identity of this moth, please email us!
Photographed by: Rodrigo Canjura. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Santa Tecla, El Salvador. Date: 26 October, 2020.
Geometrid moth
A geometrid moth in the family Geometridae.
□ If you know the identity of this moth, please email us!
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: Julian Donahue, entomologist (ret.), Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 16 May, 2017.
Insect facts
□ The caterpillars of some butterflies and moths eat the leaves of many types of plants, some eat only a few plant species, and some only eat the leaves of one type of plant.

Uraniidae, the swallowtail moths

Tropical Swallowtail Moth (Lyssa zampa)
Tropical swallowtail moth, Lyssa zampa, subfamily Uraniinae, family Uraniidae.
□ This tropical swallowtail moth has a color like creamed coffee with a beautiful zebra-pattern along the leading edge of each forewing. It was actually hanging upside down, but we flipped it to make it easier to see. See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed and identified to order by: Vance Rabius. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mueang Nan, Nan, Thailand. Date: 18 December, 2020.
Vance says, “It’s larger than my palm.” He spotted it “in the outdoor area at Erabica Coffee, a delightful coffee shop and restaurant.”
Tropical Swallowtail Moth (Lyssa zampa)
Tropical swallowtail moth, Lyssa zampa, subfamily Uraniinae, family Uraniidae.
□ This tropical swallowtail moth is gray rather than the more typical brown, but it still has the general pattern of this species, including the dark-and-light stripe through the center of each wing. Some individuals are even darker — almost black — but again they retain the stripe through the center of each wing.
Photographed and identified by: Eric Blehaut. Well done, Eric! Location: Jairampur, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Date: 19 March, 2007.
Click any photo to enlarge it.
Insect facts
□ The family name Uraniidae — just like the planet Uranus — comes from the Greek word ouránios or the Greek god Ouranos, both of which mean celestial, heavenly, and divine.
Swallowtail Moth (Pseudomicronia spp.)
Swallowtail moth, in the genus Pseudomicronia, subfamily Microniinae, family Uraniidae.
□ This swallowtail moth has intricate beige streaking — somewhat like a wood grain — on all four wings; a tiny black dot at the trailing edge of each hindwing; and small extensions, or so-called tails, on the back of its hindwings. Some species in this family have much longer extensions that rival those of swallowtail butterflies.
Photographed by: Surani Pratik. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Navsari, Gujarat, India. Date: 28 September, 2018.
Scoopwing moth (Epipleminae)
Scoopwing moth, subfamily Epipleminae, family Uraniidae.
□ This small scoopwing moth has an unusual resting pose with its forewings out to the side, but its hindwings folded and held rather tent-like over its abdomen. This pose is seen in a number of scoopwing moth species.
Photographed by: Nora Schwab. Location: Mashpi Lodge, Quito, Ecuador. Date: 4 March, 2023.
Nora said its wingspan was less than an inch (2.5 cm).
Insect facts
□ Would you like a list of all the butterfly/moth families in one handy place? We made one for you! To see it, click here.

Saturniidae, the saturniid moths

Luna moth (Actias luna)
Luna moth, Actias luna, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ With a wingspan that reaches up to 4.5 inches (11.4 cm), the luna moth is one of North America’s largest moths. Still, however, it is only half the size of the world’s largest moth, which is the Hercules moth (Coscinocera hercules). Found in New Guinea and northern Australia, Hercules moth can have a wingspan of nearly 10 inches (25 cm)!
Photographed by: Elaine Daksiewicz. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA. Date: 5 August, 2015.
Luna Moth (<i>Actias luna</i>)
Luna moth, Actias luna, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ Note the size of the luna moth against the photographer’s hand in the background, and see her comment below.
Photographed by: Pat Cooper. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: West Liberty, Kentucky, USA. Date: 5 May, 2018.
Pat says she took the photo at her cabin on the outskirts of the Daniel Boone National Forest. She says, “That moth is huge, and I have never seen one. Its actual wingspan is about 3 inches across (that’s 7.6 cm!), so it’s a quite impressive insect.”
Luna Moth (<i>Actias luna</i>)
Luna moth, Actias luna, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ Here is a nice shot of a mating pair of luna moths that the photographer found on his door. See his comment below.
Photographed and identified by: Tony L. Location: central New Jersey, USA. Date: 24 May, 2018.
Tony says, “I have a sweet gum tree in my yard about 20 ft. (6 m) from that door — that’s why I imagine they show up here.”
Luna Moth (<i>Actias luna</i>)
Luna moth, Actias luna, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This shot shows the luna moth is all its splendor, including the long swallowtail and eyespots on the hindwings.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: Hopewell, Virginia, USA. Date: July 2014.
Luna Moth (Actias luna)
Luna moth, emerging adult, Actias luna, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The photographer caught this luna moth going through the last stage of its metamorphosis. It is emerging from its pupa and beginning to expand its wings.
Photographed and identified to order by: Stephanie Crump. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: South Shore Kentucky, USA. Date: 26 April, 2020.
Stephanie found it under her porch. She says, “Beautiful.” KnowYourInsects.org agrees wholeheartedly.
Luna moth (Actias luna)
Luna moth, Actias luna, subfamily Saturniinae, family Erebidae.
□ The colors are especially vibrant on this luna moth, which looks to have recently emerged from its pupa. Since its wings have not yet fully expanded, the furry white abdomen is also visible.
Photographed by: Stefanie Bilobran. Identified by: Stefanie Bilobran and David Brown. Nicely done, Stefanie and David! Location: Cary, North Carolina, USA. Date: 24 April, 2023.
David and Stefanie found this beauty on their porch.
Luna Moth (Actias luna)
Luna moth, Actias luna, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ Here’s looking at you! This view of a luna moth provides a good view of the considerable hair on these insects — white on the thorax and head, and purple on the legs. Its wings nearly glow in lime green with the light pouring through them.
□ Be sure to click on this (or any) image to see a close-up version. A second click on the close-up will go even closer.
Photographed and identified by: Anne Guelker. Nicely done, Anne! Location: Missouri Ozarks, Missouri, USA. Date: 29 May, 2021.
Silk Moth (Copaxa syntheratoides)
Copaxa syntheratoides (no specific common name), male, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This giant silk moth has two color forms: peach-pink as seen here, and yellowish brown with more obvious dark striping in the wings. In both forms, each of its four wings has a single small eyespot (the eyespot in each hindwing is hidden beneath the forewings in this photo).
Photographed by: Rachel Zott. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Costa Rica. Date: 23 May, 2020.
Silk Moth (Copaxa syntheratoides)
Copaxa decrescens (no specific common name), subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This giant silk moth has quite a bit of variation among individuals: some are orange, some yellowish, and others gray/brown as seen here. A shared feature of all color forms is the thin, dark band across the center of the forewings, usually set off by a wider white streak beneath the band. All color forms also have a single small eyespot in the center of all four wings. The band and eyespot characteristics are shown well in this photo.
Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. Nicely done, Robert! See Robert’s cool slow-motion nature video here. Location: Bosque De Paz, Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, Costa Rica. Date: 24 July, 2013.
Sweetbay Silkmoth (Loepa katinka)
Golden emperor moth, male, Loepa katinka, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The golden emperor moth is one of more than 40 species in this genus (Loepa), many of which are very similar in appearance: yellow wings with sinuous lines and a large reddish eyespot in each wing. The golden emperor moth has a wingspan of 9.5 cm (about 3.75 inches), so it is another quite large and stunningly lovely moth.
□ The adult golden emperor moths do not feed, instead engaging in their sole job: mating and laying eggs.
Photographed and identified by: Eric Blehaut. Excellent ID, Eric! Location: Jairampur, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Date: 19 March, 2007.
Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas)
Atlas moth, Attacus atlas, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The atlas moth is one of the largest moths on the planet. With its forewings and hindwings spread out completely (the hindwing is hidden in this photo), it measures up to 11.8 inches (30 cm) from side to side by 5.25 inches (13 cm) front to back — that is one big moth! This moth was photographed at a butterfly exhibit. It is native to southern and eastern Asia.
Photographed by: Marv Goldberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly World, Coconut Creek, Florida, USA. Date: July, 2010.
Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas)
Atlas moth, Attacus atlas, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ As with most moths, the male atlas moth has feathery antennae, as seen here. Compare this to the other photos of an atlas moth on this page to see the variation in the wing patterns. This specimen was photographed at a butterfly exhibit, but in 2022, the Washington State Department of Agriculture reported the first-ever atlas moth photographed in the United States: on the side of a house in Bellevue (east of Seattle), Washington, USA.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas)
Atlas moth, Attacus atlas, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ Look how huge the wings of this atlas moth are when compared to its body size: it is amazing that it can get off the ground! This moth was photographed in Thailand, and it is indeed native to southern and eastern Asia.
Photographed and identified by: Eric Blehaut. Nicely done, Eric! Location: Khao Par Por, Cha Om, Thailand. Date: 21 November, 2021.
Cecropia Moth (<i>Hyalophora cecropia</i>)
Cecropia moth, Hyalophora cecropia, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The cecropia moth is a large moth with a wingspan of up to 6 inches (15 cm).
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Nicely done, Kelly! Location: Perrysburg, Ohio, USA. Date: July, 2015.
Cecropia Moth (<i>Hyalophora cecropia</i>)
Cecropia moth, female, Hyalophora cecropia, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The color of the cecropia moth is a grayish-brown: sometimes a bit browner (as shown here), and sometimes a bit grayer (as in the previous photo).
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hopewell, Virginia, USA. Date: 20 April, 2012.
Cecropia Moth (<i>Hyalophora cecropia</i>)
Cecropia moth, male, Hyalophora cecropia, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This photo shows the amazing color of this cecropia moth: rusty rose, rich brown, tan, cream and even the lavender at the tip of each forewing. The male, shown, has antennae that are equally feathery on each side, while the female has antennae with one side a bit narrower than the other.
Photographed and identified by: Sue Isaac. Nicely done, Sue! Location: Mishawaka, Indiana, USA. Date: 26 June, 2020.
Sue says, “It’s one of the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen — and I had to wait until age 62 to see one in real life!!” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Definitely worth the wait!”
Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis)
Imperial moth, Eacles imperialis, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
Photographed by: W. Glen Bateman Jr. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Fort DeSoto Beach and Park, Pinellas County, west-central Florida, USA. Date: 5 November, 2016.
Imperial Moth (<i>Eacles imperialis</i>)
Imperial moth, Eacles imperialis, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The imperial moth is yellow with purplish brown, sometimes pinkish brown, patches and speckles.
□ Males have more purplish brown on his forewings; females have less. That suggests this is a male, but to verify, it would be necessary to see the antennae (not visible here). Males have comb-like (pectinate) antennae for about two-thirds of their length and then taper for the last one-third. Females have antennae that are thin the whole length.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Nicely done, Kelly! Location: Perrysburg, Ohio, USA. Date: July, 2015.
Small Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)
Small emperor moth, Saturnia pavonia, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The small emperor moth is the only species in the Saturniidae family that is found in Ireland, where this photo was taken.
□ To see the larger, closely related giant emperor moth, also known as the great peacock moth (Saturnia pyri), click here (UKMoths.org).
Photographed by: Eleanor Russell. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: East Clare, Ireland. Date: 2 May, 2022.
Eleanor says, “We saw this impressive moth this evening …. It was about 8 or 9 cm wide!” That is more than 3 inches!
Sweetbay Silkmoth (Callosamia securifera)
Sweetbay silk moth, male, Callosamia securifera, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ An insect of the southeastern United States, the sweetbay silk moth has underwings with two brown tones and a single eyespot on each forewing. In comparison, the upperside of the wings is much more ornate. To see the upperside, click here (BugGuide).
□ The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the native sweet bay magnolia tree (Magnolia virginiana).
Photographed by: Samantha Burns. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Callahan, Florida, USA. Date: 30 March, 2021.
Promethea Moth (Callosamia promethea)
Promethea moth, female, Callosamia promethea, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The prominent white V on each forewing and reddish brown coloration helps identify this as a female promethea moth. The male is dark gray.
Photographed and identified by: Marilyn Ziemba. Excellent ID, Marilyn! Location: Guyton, Georgia, USA. Date: 11 April, 2021.
Promethea Moth (Callosamia promethea)
Promethea moth, male, Callosamia promethea, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The promethea moth has a wingspan from 3–3.75 inches (7.6-9.5 cm), so this is a large moth.
Photographed by: Patricia Leonard. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Fountain Inn, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 July, 2017.
Promethea Moth (Callosamia promethea)
Promethea moth, Callosamia promethea, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ Even through a screen and viewed from the underside of the wings, the promethea moth’ is a beautiful insect. This photo makes it look like the front wing has a brown triangle on it, but this is only because the hindwing is partially covering it. To get an idea of the extent of the brown on the underside of the forewing, click here (BugGuide).
Photographed by: Debbie King. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Marlborough, Connecticut, USA. Date: 31 May, 2022.
Polyphemus Moth (<i>Anthera polyphemus</i>)
Polyphemus moth, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This photo of a polyphemus moth gives a good idea of its large size.
Photographed and identified by: Amanda Sanchez. Nicely done, Amanda! Location: New Braunfels, Texas, USA. Date: 14 September, 2020.
Amanda says, “Sucker was HUGE 😀!”
Polyphemus Moth (<i>Anthera polyphemus</i>)
Polyphemus moth, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
Photographed and identified by: Heather Krise. Excellent ID, Heather! Location: southeast Ohio, USA. Date: 6 July, 2020.
Polyphemus Moth (<i>Anthera polyphemus</i>)
Polyphemus moth, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The big hind-wing eyespots of this Polyphemus moth are just barely peeking out from behind the front wings in this photo.
Photographed and identified by: Tony L. Nicely done, Tony! Location: central New Jersey, USA. Date: 18 May, 2017.
Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)
Polyphemus moth, female, Antheraea polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The photographer spotted this polyphemus moth during its transformation from a pupa to an adult. Its wings are just unfurling in the first photo. Note the exceptional ring of white fur on this beauty!
Photographed and identified by: Deborah Malitz. Well done, Deborah! Confirmed by entomologist Duke Ellsworth. Location: Muncie, Indiana, USA. Date: 11 May, 2018.
Deborah says, “It was crawling on the ground with its wings curled up. The body is huge. It climbed up a table leg and spread its wings that look like a face! The legs are hairy and the antennae look like combs! It is very fierce-looking!”
Polyphemus Moth (<i>Anthera polyphemus</i>)
Polyphemus moth, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
Photographed and identified by: Ginger Nefsey. Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Date: 28 May, 2015.
Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)
Polyphemus moth, male, Antheraea polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This image of a polyphemus moth provides a great view of both the male’s wide, plumose antennae, and how closely this moth holds its wings. The female has plumose antennae, but not as wide as the male’s.
Photographed and identified as a moth by: Alan Crawford. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Windham, New Hampshire, USA. Date: 20 July, 2020.
Alan says, “This is the first time any one in our area has seen this beauty. Hopefully it’s a sign of good changes to come.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Hear, hear!”
Polyphemus Moth (<i>Anthera polyphemus</i>)
Polyphemus moth, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ Check out the huge eyespots on the hindwings of this polyphemus moth!
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Nicely done, Kelly! Location: Perrysburg, Ohio, USA. Date: July, 2015.
Polyphemus Moth (<i>Anthera polyphemus</i>)
Polyphemus moth, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The underside of the wings in the polyphemus moth have a noticeable outline of a small oval shape behind a patch of dark brown.
Photographed by: Bethany Carter. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, Michigan, USA. Date: 30 June, 2014.
Polyphemus Moth (Anthera polyphemus)
Polyphemus moths, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This great photo shows some of the color variation in polyphemus moths, as well as the difference in the antennae between the sexes. The male’s antennae are more plumose.
Photographed and identified by: June Plunkett. Excellent ID, June! Location: Oak Hill, Texas, USA. Date: 13 September, 2021.
Polyphemus Moth (<i>Anthera polyphemus</i>)
Polyphemus moth, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Luce County, Michigan, USA. Date: 26 May, 2012.
Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus)
Polyphemus moth, male, Antheraea polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The adult polyphemus moth sometimes is gray (as seen here) instead of brown. This view of the moth also shows a graceful-looking swoop to the male’s wide, plumose antennae.
Photographed and identified by: Brian North. Nicely done, Brian! Location: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. Date: 27 June, 2023.
Brian says, “This was a cool find because, despite being several floors up, I was able to get a very close look at its body, legs and antennae.”
Cabbage Tree Emperor (Bunaea alcinoe)
Cabbage tree emperor, Bunaea alcinoe, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ Lovely in shades of brown (sometimes gray) and white, the cabbage tree emperor has a wingspan of up to 6 inches (15 cm).
□ Interesting 2018 research showed that the tiny scales covering its wings help to thwart one of its nocturnal predators: bats. Bats locate the moths by sending out high-pitched sounds that bounce off the moths and return to the bat. This is known as echolocation. The moth’s wing scales, however, are able to absorb the bats’s sounds, so nothing bounces back to the bat and the bat never notices the moth. To learn more, click here (University of Bristol).
Photographed by: Ben van Staden. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lydenburg, on the Mpumalanga highveld, South Africa. Date: 7 November, 2023.
Add your photo here!
Io Moth (Automeris io)
Io moth, Automeris io, subfamily Hemileucinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The female io moth (shown here) is red to dark purplish red, while the male is yellow — quite the contrast! Although hidden in these photos, both male and female have large eyespots on their hindwings. This is a large moth species, as the photographer notes below.
Photographed and identified by: Marv Goldberg. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 23 April, 2020.
Marv says, “This little (one) was at least three inches long.”
Io Moth (Automeris io)
Io moth, Automeris io, subfamily Hemileucinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This male io moth is a much different color from the female in the previous entry. Notice the thin white at the outside of the forewings, and the noticeable eyespot in the center of each forewing.
Photographed by: Marv Goldberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 14 June, 2022.
Marv says this moth was about 1.75 inches (4.5 cm) long.
Insect facts
□ The scientific names can often give a clue to an insect’s appearance. For instance, the genus Hemileuca combines the Greek words “hemi” or half, and “leuc” or white. “Half-white” refers to the half-white wings.
Eastern buckmoth (Hemileuca maia)
Eastern buckmoth, Hemileuca maia, subfamily Hemileucinae, family Saturniidae.
□ A beautiful moth, the eastern buckmoth has white-banded black wings (more gray than black in this specimen, which was struggling in water at the bottom of a boat. Each wing also has a black eyespot centered with a white “V”. It is rarely seen in Michigan, where this one was found.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, Michigan. 25 September, 2021.
Leslie says, “This was a first for me with this species!”
Eastern buck moth (Hemileuca maia)
Eastern buck moth, Hemileuca maia, male, subfamily Hemileucinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The underside of a eastern buck moth’s hind wing has a large white band with a small black D or half-moon shape, which is shown in this screenshot of a video. The half-moon marking sometimes has a thin white V inside it. The tip of the abdomen distinguishes male from female: The female has a black tip and the male has a red/orange tip (as seen).
Photographed by: Marge Leitner. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: central Virginia, USA. Date: October 2023.
Western sheep moth (Hemileuca eglanterina)
Elegant sheep moth, mating pair, Hemileuca eglanterina, subfamily Hemileucinae, family Saturniidae.
Elegant sheep moths can show a lot of variation between individuals. This is one of the most eye-catching with the bold lines and spots, colorful wings, and banded abdomen. Other individuals may have almost no black on their wings or almost completely black wings. Note the second sheep moth below and to the left of the larger one.
□ Elegant sheep moths are also known as western sheep moths in the northwestern United States, where this one was photographed.
Photographed by: Steve Lodholz. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Olympic Mountains, Washington, USA. Date: 5 July, 2023.
Steve says, “I couldn’t get a better photo unfortunately, as it seemed my presence was disturbing it. The red/yellow colors were striking!”
Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)
Rosy maple moth, Dryocampa rubicunda, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The rosy maple moth is pretty in pink ... and creamy yellow. Even its legs and the middle of its belly are pink. The color pattern seen here is typical for this moth, but some individuals can have considerably more or less pink on the forewings. A population in Missouri is almost all white or with just a little pink on the edges of the wings. For more about this lovely pastel beauty, click here.
Photographed and identified to order by: Brianna Sutterfield. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mount Pleasant, Michigan, USA. Date: 31 May, 2019.
Brianna says, “I just thought it was so pretty, and happy I was able to get a picture of its underside.”
Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)
Rosy maple moth, Dryocampa rubicunda, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The caterpillars of rosy maple moth are green with black pinstripes. The caterpillars eat the leaves of maple trees, as well as a few other trees. The lovely adult, seen here, only lives for about a week and does not feed.
Photographed by: Samantha Burns. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Callahan, Florida, USA. Date: 2 April, 2021.
Southern Pink-Striped Oakworm Moth (Anisota virginiensis pellucida)
Southern pink-striped oakworm, Anisota virginiensis pellucida, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This southern pink-striped oakworm has severely underdeveloped wings. To see what it will look like if its wings fully expand, click here (BugGuide).
□ This was identified by its location: other subspecies are found elsewhere.
Photographed by: Otto Nitsch. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Georgia, USA. Date: 27 August, 2019.
Otto spotted it in his driveway.
Northern Pink-Striped Oakworm (Anisota virginiensis virginiensis)
Northern pink-striped oakworm, Anisota virginiensis virginiensis, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The wings of this northern pink-striped oakworm will hopefully continue to expand to their full size. The wide, light-purple border on each of the forewings identifies it as a female.
Photographed and identified to order by: Keith Rehbein. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: western Massachusetts, USA. Date: 6 June, 2020.
Insect facts
□ When moths transition from pupa to adult, their wings have to inflate to full size. Among the oakworm moths in the genus Anisota, however, some have wings that never develop. Whether it is due to a mutation, contact with a pesticide or other chemical, or some other cause, nobody knows.
Oakworm moth (Anisota spp.)
Oakworm moth in the genus Anisota, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This oakworm moth was discovered near the California-Nevada border, an area where members of this genus are not known. How it got there is a mystery.
Photographed by: Dan Duisenberg. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Truckee, California (approximately 7,000 ft. elevation), USA. Date: July 2022.
Orange-Tipped Oakworm Moth (Anisota senatoria)
Oakworm moth in the genus Anisota, possibly Anisota senatoria, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
□ In Ohio, where this photo was taken, three oakworm moth species can be found: the pink-striped oakworm (Anisota virginiensis), the orange-tipped oakworm (Anisota senatoria), and the spiny oakworm moth (Anisota stigma). One difference between them is the amount of black speckling on the wings with the pink-striped having the least and the spiny having the most. Our guess is that it is either the orange-tipped or spiny oakworm moth.
Photographed by: Heather Krise. Location: southeast Ohio, USA. Date: 11 July, 2020.
Regal Moth (Citheronia regalis)
Regal moth, also known as a royal walnut moth, Citheronia regalis, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The caterpillar of the regal moth goes by the name of hickory horned devil and can grow to nearly 6 inches (15 cm) long! To learn more about this fascinating moth click here (University of Florida).
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Excellent ID, Kelly! Location: Lorane, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: July 7, 2017.
Regal Moth (Citheronia regalis)
Regal moth, also known as a royal walnut moth, Citheronia regalis, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This regal moth has just emerged from its pupa, so its wings aren’t fully developed yet. As a caterpillar, it goes through several stages that look quite different: one is brown and covered short and long multi-pronged spikes (BugGuide), and another is bright green with long and curved black-tipped red horns (BugGuide) near its head.
Photographed by: Andrea Thompson. Submitted by: Michael P. Bonner. Location: Lake Nockamixon, Quakertown, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: July 7, 2017.
Michael says it was about 3 inches (7.6 cm) long.
Insect facts
□ Some moths have very short adult lives. One is the regal moth: An adult emerges from its pupa, mates two days later, and the female lays her eggs on the very next day. The adults do not have functional mouthparts, and only live a few days more.

Sphingidae, the hawk moths

Slender Clearwing Moth (<i>Hemaris gracilis</i>)
Slender clearwing moth, Hemaris gracilis, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The slender clearwing moth has a deep red to purple streak on the side of its head, sweeping from the front of the head through the eye and down (as seen here).
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Benzie County, Michigan, USA. Date: 12 June, 2012.
Leslie says, “Even with the fastest shutter speed, it was hard to catch the detail of wings while it was hovering!”
Hummingbird Moth
Hummingbird clearwing moth, Hemaris thysbe, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae. One way to distinguish the hummingbird clearwing moth from others in this genus is to look at the legs. This species has yellow or light-colored legs, compared to the dark legs of others.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 31 August, 2018.
Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemaris diffinis)
Snowberry clearwing moth, Hemaris diffinis, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The photographer captured this amazing action shot of a snowberry clearwing moth as it prepares to feed. Notice the small tufts of pale-blue hairs on the abdomen just behind the yellow thorax — that row of tufts (a third tuft is out of view on its other side) helps identify the snowberry clearwing moth from similar species.
Photographed and identified by: Christopher J. Barger. Excellent work, Christopher! Location: Meigs County, Tennessee, USA. Date: 15 April, 2022.
Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemaris diffinis)
Snowberry clearwing moth, Hemaris diffinis, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ Adult snowberry clearwing moths hover like hummingbirds as they draw up nectar from a wide variety of flowers, including dogbane, honeysuckle, and others. The caterpillars feed on honeysuckle, including the species of honeysuckle called snowberry, which is where they get their name.
Photographed by: Denise Sullivan. Location: Herrin, Illinois, USA. Date: 15 August, 2022.
Denise described it as looking like “a bumblebee with horse fly wings.”
Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemaris diffinis)
Snowberry clearwing moth, Hemaris diffinis, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This photo of a snowberry clearwing moths illustrates just how clear the wing membranes are: The flower’s purple shows through the wings.
Photographed and identified by: Conrad Storad (who writes fun children’s nature books). Well done, Conrad! Location: Green, Ohio, USA. Date: 14 September, 2022.
Conrad says, “It posed for me along with skippers, bumblebees, cabbage whites, and a northern crescent butterfly. The bush was jam packed with pollinators of every flavor.”
Hummingbird Moth
Clearwing moth in the genus Hemaris, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This clearwing moth has a wide border of brown on its wings, which suggests it might be a hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe). The difference between species is usually determined by the wings, but that level of detail is hard to see in a moth that beats its wings as quickly as these do.
Photographed by: Lisa M. Walden. Location: upstate New York, USA. Date: 22 July, 2021.
Lisa says she sees this moth visiting her geraniums and petunias everyday.
Hummingbird Moth
Clearwing moth in the genus Hemaris, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ One way to tell clearwing moths apart is to look at the wings — that is, if you can see them in this always moving moth! To see the difference, click here (North American Moth Photographers Group).
Photographed and identified by: Maryle Barbé. Location: Along the Bear River in Petoskey, Michigan, USA. Date: 2013.
Insect facts
Moths in the genus Hemaris often look a lot like other animals, and their common names reflect that: hummingbird moth, bumblebee moth, and even “flying lobster” (although the latter requires a bit of imagination!).
Insect facts
□ A host plant is the plant that an insect lives on and/or eats. In butterflies and moths, it typically refers to the plant or plants that the caterpillar eats.
Spurge Hawk Moth (Hyles euphorbiae)
Spurge hawk moth, also known as leafy spurge hawk moth, Hyles euphorbiae, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This spurge hawk moth is constantly on the move as it flits through these fuchsia and white sweet William flowers (Dianthus barbatus). The white outline on this moth’s head and thorax, dark and light bars on the side of its abdomen, and pink wash on the hindwings, however, were enough to identify it.
□ To see the beautiful caterpillar, click here.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Gaylord, Michigan, USA. Date: 9 July, 2019.
Leslie says, “It was constantly beating its wings — flying and hovering — for the entire 10 minutes I watched it. And yes, there are some invasive leafy spurge plants (Euphorbia esula) nearby.”
Galium sphinx moth (Hyles gallii)
Galium sphinx moth, also known as a bedstraw hawk moth, Hyles gallii, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The galium sphinx is a large moth with a wingspan that can top 3 inches (7.6 cm). A favored host plant of its caterpillars is bedstraw, which is in the genus Galium.
□ Adults sip nectar from lilacs in spring, and bee balm (Monarda) and bouncing bet also known as soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) in summer.
Photographed by: Lyn Young. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Date: 5 July, 2021. Location: Elk Point, east-central Alberta, Canada.
Lyn says, “It is on a potato leaf.”
White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata)
White-lined sphinx, Hyles lineata, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ These images of a white-lined sphinx, sometimes called a white-lined hummingbird sphinx, are screen grabs from a video as this moth hovers and zips its way around this flower. The pink of the moth’s hindwings is clearly visible, as is the white and brown striping on the head, thorax and forewings.
Photographed by: Lisa Hetchler. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: southeastern Michigan, USA. Date: 6 August, 2019.
Lisa says this was a “morning visitor.”
White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata)
White-lined sphinx, Hyles lineata, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ In this photo of a a white-lined sphinx, just a bit of the hindwings’ pink can be seen peeking out. The white striping pattern on the forewings and thorax give this moth a groomed appearance.
Photographed and identified by: Brett Ortler. Location: Minnesota, USA. Date: 1 September, 2019.
Brett has also submitted his photo to inaturalist.org ☺.
White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata)
White-lined sphinx, Hyles lineata, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ Although this white-lined sphinx is beating its wings so quickly that they are nearly invisible, its body stays quite stationary and gives a nice view of the striping on its head and thorax, and black and white patterning on its abdomen.
Photographed by: Ellen Goldberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Edgewood, New Mexico, USA. Date: mid-August, 2021.
Ellen says, “Because we live in a rural area with lots of weeds, I just let them grow, and let the insects and animals enjoy them.”
White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata)
White-lined sphinx, Hyles lineata, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This gray-blue color variation of a white-lined sphinx deserves a closer look. Click on the photo to see a closeup, and then click on the closeup to get an even closer view.
Photographed by: Sunny-Judith Malmstrom. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Green Valley, Arizona, USA. Date: 28 April, 2023.
Judy says, “This beautiful moth, approximately 1.5 inches long, was hanging on the side of our home this morning.”
White-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata)
White-lined sphinx, Hyles lineata, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The photographer was able to capture this white-lined sphinx in flight and with its nectar-gathering proboscis extended ... and both after sunset. The left photo shows the blur of its wings in motion, and the right is a gorgeous stop-action shot revealing the abdomen and wings in all their glorious detail.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. Beautifully done, Thomas! See his original full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 15 August, 2023.
Thomas says the moth in the two photos is visiting Agapanthus ‘Queen of the NiIe’ flowers.
White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata)
White-lined sphinx, Hyles lineata, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The white-lined sphinx can use its amazingly long proboscis to reach nectar deep within trumpet-shaped flowers.
Photographed and identified to subfamily by: Sunny-Judith Malmstrom. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Green Valley, Arizona, USA. Date: 26 October, 2021.
Coffee Bean Hawk Moth (Cephonodes hylas)
Coffee bean hawk moth, also known as a pellucid hawk moth, coffee clearwing, and Oriental bee hawk moth, Cephonodes hylas, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The coffee bean hawk moth is a large moth with a wingspan of up to 7.5 cm (3 inches). It is quite active early in the morning and late in the day.
□ Moths and butterflies are covered with scales, but in moths, the scales are modified to look rather like fur. In this individual, some of the scales have worn off. This is quite common as moths age.
Photographed by: Nancy Kumar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bangalore, India. Date: 17 July, 2020.
Coffee Bee Hawkmoth, Pellucid Hawk Moth, Oriental Bee Hawk Moth, or Coffee Clearwing (Cephanodes hylas)
Coffee bee hawk moth, also known as pellucid hawk moth, coffee clearwing and Oriental bee hawk moth, Cephanodes hylas, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This side view of a coffee bee hawk moth’ shows the wide color variation in the abdomen, and the spines on its hind legs.
Photographed by: Natalie Rowles. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Pinetown, South Africa. Date: 25 November, 2022.
Natalie says, “Big eyes for such a small insect... Quite colorful with a bit of gold on the back too.”
Coffee Bee Hawkmoth, Pellucid Hawk Moth, Oriental Bee Hawk Moth, or Coffee Clearwing (Cephanodes hylas)
Coffee bee hawk moth, also known as pellucid hawk moth, coffee clearwing and Oriental bee hawk moth, Cephanodes hylas, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ One of the coffee bee hawk moth’s favorite flowers is rhino-coffee (known as wildekornoelie in South Africa where this photo was taken), but it will also sip nectar from many other plants, including wild pomegranate (wildegranaat).
Photographed by: Noelien Du Plooy. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: West Rand, South Africa. Date: 9 February, 2020.
Gardenia Bee Hawk (Cephonodes kingii)
Gardenia bee hawk, Cephonodes kingii, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ Both the adult and caterpillar of the gardenia bee hawk are often seen on gardenia flowers (although they will visit other flowers too). The “bee” part of the name comes from the striped pattern and fat hairy body that is somewhat reminiscent of a bee. For more information about this interesting and usually rather rare moth, click here.
Photographed and identified by: Edwina Byrne. Location: Hazelglen Farm, Watson’s Creek, New South Wales, Australia. Date: 26 February, 2020.
Edwina found this one on a Buddlia (butterfly bush). She says, “It appeared to be a pollinator after nectar and was about 40 mm (1.6 inches) in length and quite loud, louder than a bee with antennae that looked butterfly-like.”
Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)
Hummingbird hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The hummingbird hawk-moth has bright orange underwings, something that the photographer noticed while this moth was in rapidly beating its wings in flight. When the moth settled down enough for this photo, however, its hindwings were tucked away out of sight under the forewings.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Near Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 25 June, 2020.
Bryan says, “Although this hummingbird hawk-moth is not a rarity by any means, this is a first for me, so I was pleased to capture this shot.”
Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)
Hummingbird hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The hummingbird hawk-moth is a Eurasian species. North America also has species commonly called hummingbird moths, but they are in a separate genus. All of these hummingbird moths hover and feed like hummingbirds.
□ Note: Most of the moth is in shade; the light area at the ends of both wings is due to sunlight striking the wings.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Chablis, Bourgogne, France. Date: 21 September, 2022.
 Hummingbird hawk moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)
Hummingbird hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This photo shows a hummingbird hawk-moth in flight and with its orange hindwings in full view. It will move from flower to flower, hovering above and using its long, straw-like proboscis — its proboscis is nearly as long as its body! — to probe into flowers and draw up their nectar.
Photographed and identified by: Malcolm Jellows. Nicely done, Malcolm! Location: Maple Cross, UK. Date: 23 September, 2023.
A hummingbird hawkmoth (Macroglossum corythus)
Macroglossum corythus (no specific common name), subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ One of the species of hummingbird hawkmoths, Macroglossum corythus has a wingspan of about 6 cm (2.4 inches). Its forewings are shades of browns and gray’s, and its hind wings are brown with a bright yellow band across the middle. In the photo, the yellow is just visible in the blur of hovering motion. To see the hindwings in more detail, click here (inaturalist.org).
Photographed and identified by: Eric Blehaut. Great ID, Eric! Location: Bang Krang, Nonthaburi, Thailand. Date: 26 February, 2024.
Swinhoe's striated hawkmoth (Hippotion rosetta)
Swinhoe’s striated hawkmoth, Hippotion rosetta, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ From this angle, Swinhoe’s striated hawkmoth looks similar to a striped green hawkmoth, but the latter is known from northern India rather than central India, where this photo was taken. Click on the following links to compare the two: Swinhoe’s striated hawkmoth and striped green hawkmoth.
Photographed and identified to order by: Amit S. Identified to subfamily by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Pune, Maharashtra, India. Date: 11 July, 2021.
Vine hawkmoth (Hippotion celerio)
Vine hawkmoth, Hippotion celerio, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The vine hawkmoth will hover in front of flowers and use its long tongue to reach their nectar. It is sometimes called a silver-lined hawkmoth for the wide shiny band that extends across each forewing, as seen in this photo.
Photographed by: Marcia Hall. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lachania, Rhodes, Greece. Date: 17 September, 2022.
Modest Sphinx (Alypia octomaculata)
Modest sphinx, Pachysphinx modesta, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ Among the modest sphinx moths, some individuals have brown and gray forewings, and quite a vibrant, deep rose patch on each hindwing, as seen here.
Photographed by: Ranee Krocker. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Harrison, Michigan, USA. Date: 11 July, 2022.
Modest Sphinx (Pachysphinx modesta)
Modest sphinx, Pachysphinx modesta, subfamily Sphingidae, family Sphinginae.
□ The combination of soft gray-green and rose give this modest sphinx an understated beauty. Some individuals may have more gray than green.
□ As with a number of moths, the caterpillars spend most of their time eating, but the adults forgo feeding during their short lives and put their energy toward mating and laying eggs.
Photographed and identified by: Brett Ortler. Location: Cass County, Minnesota, USA. Date: 19 June, 2020.
Brett has also submitted his photo to inaturalist.org ☺.
Big Poplar Sphinx Moth (Pachysphinx occidentalis)
Big poplar sphinx moth, Pachysphinx occidentalis, subfamily Smerinthinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The big poplar sphinx moth has two color forms: one quite light in hue (like this one) and a second much darker. And it is definitely big: The photographer said it had a wingspan of 5.5 inches (14 cm).
□ The male has a thinner abdomen with an upward curve; the female’s is thicker and straighter. In addition, the male’s antennae are just a little bushier than the female’s.
Photographed and identified as a moth by: Lee Higby. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: about 4,500 feet elevation, Chino Valley, Arizona, USA. Date: 17 July, 2019.
Lee says, “I’ve never seen one of these here. We’ve lived here 16 years and this girl shows up on my screen door.”
Try the key! Typhon Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha typhon)
Typhon sphinx moth, Eumorpha typhon, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The typhon sphinx moth barely reaches north into the United States — it is mainly a moth of Mexico and Central America. Its hindwings (not visible in this photo) have a striking raspberry-colored swath.
□ The caterpillar of this species is quite colorful, and glows under the light of an ultraviolet flashlight. To see the caterpillar (and more information on this interesting species) click here.
Photographed and identified as a moth by: Briana Burke. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Payson, Arizona, USA. Date: 1 December, 2019.
Briana says that it “flew out from some shrubs when I was watering.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Lucky day watering!”
Pandorus Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha pandorus)
Pandorus sphinx moth, Eumorpha pandorus, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The pandorus sphinx moth, lovely in shades of olive and rose, is often seen flying at dusk. One of the adult’s favored foods is the nectar of petunias.
Photographed by: Jean Zott. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA. Date: 23 July, 2015.
Jean says, “Pretty cool camouflage moth!”
Pandorus Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha pandorus)
Pandorus sphinx moth, Eumorpha pandorus, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The rather geometric pattern of dark triangles on the thorax helps to set apart this pandorus sphinx moth.
Photographed and identified to family by: Cat Hershberger. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Wadsworth, Ohio, USA. Date: 29 June, 2020.
Banded Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha fasciatus)
Banded sphinx moth, Eumorpha fasciatus, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This banded sphinx moth and vine sphinx moth (Eumorpha vitis). both have a broad, ivory-colored, Y-shaped stripe on each forewing; three, thinner, ivory-colored slash marks that rip through the Y; and a broad, light-colored stripe running down the middle of the abdomen. The banded sphinx, however, has a wide, tan-colored border at the leading edge of each forewing (as seen above), but the vine sphinx does not.
Photographed by: Dianne Maire. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Geismar, Louisiana, USA. Date: 22 July, 2019.
Dianne says, “I caught this moth in my house trying to save it from my dogs. It’s beautiful! I’ve never seen one like this.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Nice save, Dianne!”
Banded Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha fasciatus)
Banded sphinx moth, Eumorpha fasciatus, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□This photo shows the pink color of the hindwings in this banded sphinx moth. Gorgeous!
Photographed by: Gary Watling. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Homosassa, Florida, USA. Date: 24 November, 2017.
Gary says, “This beauty landed on my porch railing.”
Insect facts
□ The hawk moths in the genus Eumorpha have wings with a particularly sleek look. In fact, Eumorpha means “good shape.”
Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis)
Nessus sphinx, Amphion floridensis, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The nessus sphinx has a striped abdomen that looks like a short-fat cigar, tapering toward the rear and ending with a spray of hairs.
□ This species is sometimes erroneously listed as Amphion nessus.
Photographed and identified by: Brett Ortler. Location: Minnesota, USA. Date: 28 June, 2020.
Brett has also submitted his photo to inaturalist.org ☺.
Tersa Sphinx (Xylophanes tersa)
Tersa sphinx, Xylophanes tersa, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This tersa sphinx usually has its hindwings concealed, but this nice photo provides a peek at them: black with a row of cream-colored triangles.
□ These moths are often found sipping nectar around flowers in late afternoon/early evening.
Photographed by: Krysti Adams. Submitted and identified to family by: Will Harriett. Nice joint effort, Krysti and Will! Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. Date: 15 October, 2022.
Will says, “I was on your page trying to identify this moth that we found on our outdoor patio. Best guess is a sphinx moth of some type.”
Tersa Sphinx Moth (Xylophanes tersa)
Tersa sphinx moth, Xylophanes tersa, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The tersa sphinx moth is an elegant-looking moth in shades of gray, brown and tan. Its very sleek profile includes an abdomen that narrows to a point.
□ Most adult moths die with the onset of cold winter weather, so how do species survive? Either their eggs or their pupae can handle freezing temperatures. The tersa sphinx moth, for instance, overwinters as a pupa, and transforms into an adult the following spring.
Photographed by: Marv Goldberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 31 October, 2018.
Marv says, “This large insect was on a wall near where I live.... The length of the body, nose to tail, was about 3 inches.”
Tersa Sphinx Moth (Xylophanes tersa)
Tersa sphinx moth, Xylophanes tersa, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This tersa sphinx moth was found in northern Michigan, but it has historically been more of a southern U.S. species. With the unstable climate of current times, many insects are expanding into new territory.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Gaylord, Michigan, USA. Date: 19 July, 2019.
Hawk Moth (Xylophanes cyrene)
Hawk moth, Xylophanes cyrene, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The bright green patches on the wings of this hawk moth look almost like moss. Its hindwings (hidden from view in this photo) are black with a cream-colored band across them.
□ A moth of the cloud forests, its range extends from Mexico through Central America and to Peru. Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s cool slow-motion nature video here. Location: Bosque De Paz, Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, Costa Rica. Date: 24 July, 2013.
Oleander hawkmoth (Daphnis nerii)
Oleander hawkmoth, Daphnis nerii, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ Swirls of olive, pink, gray and cream highlight the oleander hawkmoth. The adults feed on the nectar of many different flowers, but not those of oleander. It is its caterpillars that munch the leaves of oleander, picking up some of its toxic components, which help protect the caterpillars from would-be predators.
Photographed and identified by: Eric Blehaut. Location: Bang Krang, Nonthaburi, Thailand. Date: 13 December, 2020.
Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor)
Elephant hawk moth, Deilephila elpenor, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The elephant hawk-moth is olive with rich and often quite brilliant pink highlights. This moth is often found in areas with rosebay willowherb (Chamaenerion angustifolium) growing (rosebay willowherb is called fireweed in the U.S. and Canada).
Photographed by: Sharon Todd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Glasgow, Scotland. Date: 25 June, 2019.
Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor)
Elephant hawk moth, Deilephila elpenor, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ This lovely elephant hawk moth has a chubby brown and gray caterpillar that sports two horns at its rear end. The caterpillar’s vague similarity to an elephant’s trunk is why it has the word “elephant” in its common name. To see the caterpillar, click here (wildlifeinsight.com).
□ A very similar species is the small elephant hawk moth (Deilephila porcellus), which has a wingspan of up to 2 inches (5 cm), whereas the elephant hawk moth’s wingspan can be as much as 2.7 inches (7 cm). Besides the size difference, another good way to tell them apart is to look for pink stripe down the middle of the abdomen: The elephant hawk moth has it, but the small elephant hawk moth does not.
Photographed and identified by: Colin Chafer. Nicely done, Colin! Location: Dagenham, Essex, UK. Date: 5 July, 2022.
Colin says this was the first time seeing an elephant hawk moth. He adds, “They’re so beautiful!”
Fig Sphinx (<i>Pachylia ficus</i>)
Fig sphinx, Pachylia ficus, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The forewings of the fig sphinx are mainly beige with a distinctive light-colored marking at each tip and a single white dot at the base. The forewings of some individuals may have more blotching of slightly darker beige, or even a few thin zigzagging black lines. The hindwings (hidden in this photo) typically have two wide black bands.
Photographed by: LeAnn Dahl. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA. Date: 9 May, 2020.
LeAnn says, “Beautiful!”
Fig sphinx (Pachylia ficus_MG)
Fig sphinx, Pachylia ficus, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The fig sphinx is a large moth with a wingspan that measures up to 5.5 inches (14 cm). Its primary range extends from the northern two-thirds of South America up through Central America and Mexico, and into the southeastern United States.
□ Figs are the host plant of its caterpillars.
Photographed by: Marv Goldberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 19 March, 2024.
Marv says, “Another big moth!”
Abbott's sphinx (Sphecodina abbottii)
Abbott’s sphinx, Sphecodina abbottii, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
Abbott’s sphinx looks as if it is wearing a black belt and a white scabbard on either side. When they begin to become active late in the afternoon, they are often mistaken for bumble bees not only because of their furry bodies, but also because they buzz when they fly.
Photographed and identified by: Brett Ortler. Location: Minnesota, USA. Date: 19 May, 2020.
Brett has also submitted his photo to inaturalist.org ☺.
Mournful sphinx (Enyo lugubris)
Mournful sphinx, Enyo lugubris, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ With the spread tail, this mournful sphinx has an elaborate silhouette. Other features of this muted beauty are a single line across the middle of the body and wings, the pair of small dark eyespots in about the center of each forewing, and the row of paired, chocolate-colored spots running down the abdomen.
Photographed and identified by: Robert Carpenter. See Robert’s cool slow-motion nature video here. Location: Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 16 July, 2011.
Diamondback Moth (Plutella xylostella)
Diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ Several species have similar appearances to this one, but this looks like the diamondback moth, which is the more common than the others. A series of white diamond shapes are visible in the dorsal view (right photo). The side view shows brown mounded shapes on the wings and long, downward-sweeping antennae.
□ The diamondback moth is found just about the world over. In fact, one source calls it “the most universally distributed Lepidoptera.” This moth can migrate from farm to farm, and can sometimes be a problem for cabbage and other cruciferous crops.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. Beautifully done, Thomas! See his original full-size images here, images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 18 August, 2023.
Thomas says it was about 10 mm (0.4 inches) in body length. He adds, “Another good place to find bugs, on the inside glass of our sliding back door!”
Insect facts
Sphinx moths get their name from their caterpillars, which often sit with the head raised — similar to the posture of the Egyptian sphinxes (mythical creatures with the body of a lion and the head of a human).
Streaked sphinx (Protambulyx strigilis)
Streaked sphinx, Protambulyx strigilis, subfamily Smerinthinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The streaked sphinx is a large moth. Even with the wings folded, as seen here, the photographer estimated it was at least 3 inches wide. The dark bands at the outside of the thorax and set of three dark slash marks along the leading edge of each forewing help to identify this beauty.
Photographed by: Marv Goldberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 11 September, 2020.
Marv spotted a gecko checking out this large moth. Marv opines that the gecko had one of two things on its mind: “If I could eat that, I’d be set for the next month” or “I better run, I remember what Mothra did to Tokyo.” The gecko was gone in the time it took Marv to grab his camera.
Streaked sphinx (Ambulyx substrigilis)
Dark-based gliding hawkmoth, Ambulyx substrigilis, subfamily Smerinthinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The dark-based gliding hawkmoth looks similar to other species in this genus. One defining characteristic is the thin dark line that runs down the center of the abdomen. This large moth may have a wingspan up to 12 cm (4.7 inches).
Photographed and identified by: Eric Blehaut. Nicely done, Eric! Location: Khao Par Por, Cha Om, Thailand. Date: 21 November, 2021.
Twin-Spotted Sphinx Moth (Smerinthus jamaicensis)
Twin-spotted sphinx, Smerinthus jamaicensis, subfamily Smerinthinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The twin-spotted sphinx gets its name from the eyespots on its hindwings (hidden from view in this photo). Each eyespot, which is pale blue, often has a black bar running through it and dividing it into two or “twin spots”.
Photographed by: Jake Yonkers. Submitted by: Lisa Hetchler. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Marne, Michigan, USA. Date: 12 June, 2020.
One-eyed Sphinx Moth (Smerinthus cerisyi)
One-eyed sphinx, Smerinthus cerisyi, subfamily Smerinthinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The one-eyed sphinx gets its name from the large eyespot on each of its hindwings, as seen here. Some individuals are mostly black and gray (like this one), but some others are quite brown and gray in color.
Photographed and identified by: Brett Ortler. Location: Cass County, Minnesota, USA. Date: 21 June, 2020.
Brett has also submitted his photo to inaturalist.org ☺.
Istar Sphinx Moth (Lintneria istar)
Istar sphinx moth, Lintneria istar, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ This istar sphinx has just emerged from its pupa, and when its abdomen is slightly bent, as shown at right, the green sutures (the space between each abdominal segment) are visible. See the fully formed adult by clicking here (BugGuide).
Photographed and identified by: Tommy Vick. Location: Davis Mountains, Fort Davis, Texas, USA. Date: 27 May, 2020.
Tommy says it crawled up to a water bowl.
Try the key! Privet Moths (Sphinx ligustri)
Privet hawk-moths, Sphinx ligustri, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ If the wings were open on either of this pair of privet hawk-moths, the pink-and-black-striped abdomen would be visible. They are mainly active at night, but can be found during the day resting on tree trunks and other vertical surfaces. To see the caterpillar of this species, click here.
Photographed by: Ian Blackmore. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: West Cornwall, UK. Date: 16 July, 2021.
Great Ash Sphinx (Sphinx chersis)
Great ash sphinx, Sphinx chersis, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ The thin slashes of black on its gray wings give this great ash sphinx a muted elegance. In the southern United States, this moth has two broods. This was photographed in Arizona in September, so this would be from the second brood. Its young will spend the winter underground as pupae and emerge early next summer.
Photographed by: Judith Malmstrom. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Green Valley, Arizona, USA. Date: 7 September, 2023. br> Judith describes it as “a large beautiful moth.” In fact, it’s wingspan can reach 5 inches (13 cm)!
Giant sphinx moth (Cocytius antaeus)
Giant sphinx moth, Cocytius antaeus, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ The female giant sphinx moth can have a wingspan of up to 7 inches (7.5 cm), so she is definitely a giant among moths! The male is a bit smaller. Its host plant is pond-apple, aka custard-apple (Annona glabra), which is native to Florida, where this moth was found.
Photographed by: Marv Goldberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 11 May, 2022.
Convolvulus Hawk-Moth (Agrius convolvuli)
Convolvulus hawk-moth, Agrius convolvuli, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ This huge and very well-camouflaged convolvulus hawk-moth has a wingspan that can reach more than 10 cm (4.1 inches). When feeding, it unfurls its amazingly long proboscis — more than twice as long as its body! — and uses it like a straw to sip nectar from tube-shaped flowers.
Photographed by: Ilkay Orbey. Submitted by: Barlas Bozyegit. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mugla City, Turkey. Date: 28 August, 2020.
Barlas says, “It’s majestic!”
Elm Sphinx Moth (Ceratomia amyntor)
Elm sphinx moth, Ceratomia amyntor, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ This elm sphinx has just emerged from the pupa, so the wings are not quite fully formed. To see the fully formed adult, click here (BugGuide).
□ The caterpillar of this moth is called a four-horned sphinx, which refers to the four spines on its head (it also has a longer curved spine on its rear end). To see the caterpillar, click here (BugGuide).
Photographed and identified as a moth by: Wendy Felty. Discovered and identified as a moth by: Wendy and her children Duke and Kensington. Nicely done, mom and kids! Location: Dallas, Texas, USA. Date: 21 August, 2021.
Wendy says, “We thought it was very interesting and huge. It was well above an inch (2.5 cm) in size.”
Carolina Sphinx Moth, aka Six-Spotted Hawk Moth (Manduca sexta)
Carolina sphinx moth, also known as a six-spotted hawk moth, Manduca sexta, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ The Carolina sphinx moth is also called a six-spotted hawk moth for the line of six spots on each side of the abdomen. To see the caterpillar of this moth, known as a tobacco hornworm, click here.
□ April is extremely early for adults of this species to show up in Michigan, where this one was found, so perhaps it arrived in a nursery shipment of tomatoes from a greenhouse (the caterpillars eat tomatoes).
Photographed and identified to order by: Tori Thompson. Location: Wayne, Michigan, USA. Date: 25 April, 2020.
Tori says, “Today, this giant guy landed on my hand and refused to leave. We spent about 2 hours together. The whole time he flapped his wings.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Sounds like your lucky day, Tori!”
Carolina Sphinx Moth, aka Six-Spotted Hawk Moth (Manduca sexta)
Carolina sphinx moth, also known as a six-spotted hawk moth, Manduca sexta, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
Carolina sphinx moth caterpillars feed heavily on the leaves of tobacco, tomato and potato plants, and can strip a lush plant of all the leaf tissue in a matter of days. The adults, on the other hand, feed on flower nectar. Because the adults are active at night, they are much more rarely seen than the caterpillars, which often do their munching in broad daylight.
Photographed and identified to family by: Marcia Pilliciotti. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA. Date: 17 August, 2022.
Marcia says, “Now I know who has been chowing down on my tomato plants!”
Rustic Sphinx Moth (Manduca rustica)
Rustic sphinx moth, Manduca rustica, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ The rustic sphinx moth has an intricate zig-zag design on its wings. A close look also reveals a couple of orange spots on its abdomen — it actually has three orange spots on each side of its abdomen (the others are hidden beneath the wings in this photo). And it is a big moth (see the photographer’s comment below).
Photographed by: Larry Wollam. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA. Date: 14 November, 2018.
Larry says, “Approximately 2-1/2 inches (about 7 cm) long. Good camouflage, looks sort of like a peppered moth.”
Rustic Sphinx Moth (Manduca rustica)
Rustic sphinx moth, Manduca rustica, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ The rustic sphinx moth is quite a lovely creature from youth to adult. As a young caterpillar, it is green-and-white striped with a long horn on the posterior end; and as an older caterpillar, it has a rosy color.
Photographed by: Judy Malmstrom. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Green Valley, Arizona, USA. Date: 14 November, 2018.
Judy says, “The moth was approximately 3 inches (7 cm) long. A large and very beautiful specimen.”
Blinded Sphinx Moth (Paonias excaecata)
Blinded sphinx moth, Paonias excaecata, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ The blinded sphinx moth has a small black dot in the center of each forewing. Each of its hindwings (unseen in this photo) are light pink with a blue-centered eye spot.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Isle Royale in Lake Superior, Michigan. Date: 15 June, 2021.
Leslie says, “It was sitting on the outside wall of Isle Royale’s restaurant for two days in a row.”
Blinded sphinx (Paonias excaecata)
Blinded sphinx, Paonias excaecata, subfamily Smerinthinae, family Sphingidae.
□ These photos show top and side views of a mating pair of blinded sphinx moths. In the side view (right), the male moth (bottom) is arching his abdomen downward, and both male and female are holding their forewings above their bodies.
□ Adult spinx moth caterpillars do not feed, but the caterpillars will munch on the leaves of various deciduous trees, including some fruit trees (see the photographer’s note below). To view the caterpillar, click here (BugGuide.net).
Photographed by: Elaine Mills. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: central New Hampshire, USA. Date: May 2024.
Elaine spotted this pair “ hanging in a crabapple tree (in the genus Malus).
Small-Eyed Sphinx Moth (Paonias myops)
Small-eyed sphinx moth, Paonias myops, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ Some small-eyed sphinx moths, like this one, have yellower highlights rather than orange. The species name of myops is Greek for closing the eyes or blinking, which likely refers to the eye spot on each hindwing. When this moth is flying, the eyespot goes in and out of view, so it looks like it is blinking.
Photographed by: Anonymous. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near Oak Lake, Indiana, USA. Date: 23 April, 2022.
The photographer captured this shot in a campground.
Small-Eyed Sphinx Moth (Paonias myops)
Small-eyed sphinx moth, Paonias myops, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ This lovely small-eyed sphinx moth has orange, gray (sometimes blue-gray) and brown swirling patterns on its wings. Each of its hindwings, which are concealed beneath the forewings in this photo, have a blue-centered eye spot. The eye spots show up well when its wings are spread, and are enough to scare off potential predators.
□ The forewings actually have a straight leading edge: The “hump” in the photo is the hindwing peeking out. Depending on how the moth is sitting, the hump may not be visible.
Photographed by: Janice Skene. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arborg, Manitoba, Canada. Date: 27 June, 2019.
Janice says, “It is on the front of my house.”
Sphinx Moth (Sphingidae)
Sphinx moth, family Sphingidae.
□ The species of this sphinx moth, photographed in Cameroon, Africa, is unknown. If you know what it is, please email us and we will list you as the identifier.
Photographed by: Sarah Park. Location: Yaoundé, Cameroon, Africa. Date: 9 June, 2016.
Sarah says the moth “blends in so well with the cement.”

Apatelodidae, the American silkworm moths

Spotted Apatelodes (Apatelodes torrefacta)
Spotted spatelodes, Apatelodes torrefacta, subfamily Apatelodinae, family Apatelodidae.
□ The spotted apatelodes is brown with a number of thin darker brown lines on its wings, and a dark patch at the base of its forewings, as seen here. The curled abdomen is a typical resting pose for this moth. The caterpillar of this moth is covered in long white or yellow hairs.
□ Note: It is sometimes listed instead in the family Bombycidae.
Photographed and identified to order by: Jennifer Workman. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Theodore, Alabama, USA. Date: 5 April, 2020.
Jennifer found this one in her kitchen.
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Try the key!

Eupterotidae, the monkey moths

Monkey moth (Eupterote spp.)
Monkey moth, also known as a giant lappet moth, in the genus Eupterote, subfamily Eupterotinae, family Eupterotidae.
□ The solid dark brown line across all four wings, and the zigzag lines on the forewings help to identify this eupteroid moth.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 20 March, 2020.
Monkey moth (Eupterote spp.)
Monkey moth, also known as a giant lappet moth, in the genus Eupterote, subfamily Eupterotinae, family Eupterotidae.
□ The monkey moths in this genus look much alike with slight variations in the patterning of their forewings and hindwings, as seen in the photos posted here.
Photographed by: Surani Pratik. Identified by: Sanjay Sondhi, Titli Trust. Thank you for the identification, Sanjay Sondhi! Location: Navsari, Gujarat, India. Date: 18 July, 2017.
Surani saw this moth at night at his house.
Monkey moth (Eupterote spp.)
Monkey moth, also known as a giant lappet moth, in the genus Eupterote, subfamily Eupterotinae, family Eupterotidae.
□ The genus, subfamily and family names of this monkey moth contain the root word euptero-, which means feathered, which refers to their pectinate, or feather-like, antennae. Usually, however, this moth sits with its antennae lying against the edge of its wings, so they are unseen.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Vineith Mahadev. Location: Pune, India. Date: 28 June, 2021.
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