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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 Crambidae Depressariidae Gelechiidae
Limacodidae Oecophoridae Psychidae Pterophoridae Pyralidae Sesiidae Thyrididae Tineidae Tortricidae

Geometridae, the geometer moths

Geometrid moths, Paro spp.
Geometrid moths, mating pair, in the genus Pero, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ These photos show a mating pair of geometrid moths with the 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.)
Geometrid moth, pupa and adult, in the genus Pero, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The adult geometrid moth (shown) emerged from this pupa.
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, “Approximately 7/8 inches long. I uncovered 7 of them while removing grass and weeds from a small pile of dirt that was my last compost heap.”
Moth (Pero spp.)
Geometrid moth in the genus Pero, possibly Pero mizon, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
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 more gray 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 looks similar to the feathered thorn moth (Colotois pennaria), which also has two thin stripes across each wing and a small dots between them. In the Scalloped Oak moth, however, the area between the two thin stripes is a considerably darker color.
Photographed by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 2011.
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 bit of variation. Most, like this one, have wings that are half light brown and half slightly darker brown, separated by a thin, dark line. Some also have a zig-zag line through the hind wings and yet another swervy 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.
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.
Swallow-Tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)
Swallow-tailed moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
□ The soft beige banding on this swallow-tailed moth give this moth 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, which can be seen here.
Photographed and identified to order by: John Serenyi. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Near Cheltenham, UK. Date: 1 July, 2019.
Slant-Lines Moth (Tetracis spp.)
Slant-lines moth in the genus Tetracis, subfamily Ennominae, family Geometridae.
Slant-lines moths have a thin line across each forewing. In some species, the line is faint, but it is quite noticeable in many (like this one).
Photographed and identified to order by: Judy Cok. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Castro Valley, California, USA. Date: 8 March, 2020.
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 5 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. 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)
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 and no bold 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.
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 described as having a wingspan of about 21 mm, and a body of about 8 mm 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.
Grey Pug Moth (Eupithecia subfuscata)
Grey pug moth, Eupithecia subfuscata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
This grey pug moth has a wing pattern that is reminescent of brown tweed.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Oxford, England, UK. Date: 22 April, 2018.
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 hind wings.
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.”
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. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 16 May, 2017.
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 in wingspan and 8 mm in body length.
Yellow Shell Moth (Camptogramma bilineata)
Yellow shell moth, Camptogramma bilineata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ The yellow shell moth has pretty shell-like markings on its forewings that come in shades of yellow and sometimes orange or peach (like this one); and 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. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 3 August, 2019.
Bryan says, “Pleased to get a shot of this Yellow Shell Moth (Camptogramma bilineata) on my morning walk.”
Yellow Shell Moth (Eois grataria)
Geometrid moth, Eois grataria, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ This geometrid moth (no common name beyond that) 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.
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.
Common Carpet Moth (Epirrhoe alternata)
Common carpet moth, also known as a white-banded toothed carpet moth, Epirrhoe alternata, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ This species in common in Europe, hence the name common carpet moth, but is also found in the United States, where it is called the White-Banded Toothed 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 common carpet moth has a bit of variation in its color, but the wide white band and thinner, scalloped band are common features.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Oxford, England, UK. Date: 11 May, 2018.
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 has a short fringe of hairs at the edge of its wings.
□ It is sometimes called a white-banded toothed carpet moth. This specimen has yellowish bands but many have stark-white ones.
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
Geometrid moth in the genus Epirrhoe, subfamily Larentiinae, family Geometridae.
□ Many of the geometrid moths in the genus Epirrhoe have irregular bands running across the forewings, as seen here.
Photographed by: Syed Gazanfar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kashmir, India. Date: 4 April, 2019.
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.
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 means blood) is believed to refer to the reddish, blood-like color of the streaks, although they are actually more pink than blood-red.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). 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-greay 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)
Geometrid moth, Comostola chlorargyra, subfamily Geometrinae, family Geometridae.
□ This geometrid moth has no common name, so is only known by its family name (Geometridae). It 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.
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.
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.
Geometrid moth, Thalassodes or Pelagodes spp.
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 — Thalassodes, Pelagodes, Orothalassodes and Remiformvalva — and this moth can be found in the literature listed as both Thalassodes and Pelagodes.
Photographed by: Syed Gazanfar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kashmir, India. Date: 2 September, 2018.
Moth
Geometrid moth, 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
Geometrid moth, 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
Geometrid moth<, 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.
Geometrid Moth
Geometrid moth, 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.
Add your photo here! Add your photo here!

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.”
Swallowtail Moth (Pseudomicronia spp.)
Swallowtail moth, in the genus Pseudomicronia, family Uraniidae.
□ The moths in this family (Uraniidae) are called swallowtail moths because they have extensions on the back of their hind wings. This species has small ones, but some have much long extensions that rival those of swallowtail butterflies. This swallowtail moth has an intricate, beige streaking — somewhat like a wood grain — on all four wings, and a small black dot at the trailing edge of each hind wing.
Photographed by: Surani Pratik. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Navsari, Gujarat, India. Date: 28 September, 2018.
Add your photo 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 (!), the luna moth is one of North America’s largest moths. It is still, however, only half the size of the world’s largest moth, which is the hercules moth (Coscinocera hercules). Found in New Guinea and northern Australia, that species can have a wingspan of nearly 10 inches!
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. 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 hind wings.
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.
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. Male 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. In this photo, the moth has its antennae laid down over its back (a typical resting pose), so they are not visible. Males have antennae that are comb-like (pectinate) for about two-thirds of their length and then taper to a thin structure for the last one-third. Females have antennae that are thin the whole length.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Perrysburg, Ohio, USA. Date: July, 2015.
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!
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). 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 gray-brown: sometimes a bit more brown (as shown here), and sometimes a bit more gray (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. 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!”
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. 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 3/4 inches, so this is a large moth.
Photographed by: Patricia Leonard. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Fountain Inn, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 July, 2017.
Sweetbay Silkmoth (Callosamia securifera)
Sweetbay silk moth, male, Callosamia securifera, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The sweetbay silk moth has underwings with two brown tones and a single eyespot on each forewing. In comparison, the upper side of the wings is much more ornate. To see the upper side, click here (bugguide.net).
□ The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the native sweet bay magnolia tree(Magnolia vivrginiana.
Photographed by: Samantha Burns. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Callahan, Florida, USA. Date: 30 March, 2021.
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. 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. Location: southeast Ohio, USA. Date: 6 July, 2020.
Polyphemus Moth (<i>Anthera polyphemus</i>)
Polyphemus moth, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The big hindwing eyespots of this Polyphemus moth are just barely peeking out from behind the front wings in this photo.
Photographed and identified by: Tony L. Location: central New Jersey, USA. Date: 18 May, 2017.
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 (<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, 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. 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 (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, here!”
Polyphemus Moth (<i>Anthera polyphemus</i>)
Polyphemus moth, Anthera polyphemus, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ Check out the huge eyespots on the hind wings of this polyphemus moth!
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). 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. Location: Oak Hill, Texas, USA. Date: 13 September, 2021.
Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas)
Atlas moth, Attacus atlas, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ One of the largest moths on the planet, the atlas moth has a wingspan of near one foot. With its forewings and hindwings spread out completely (the hind wing 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’s a big moth! This one 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 has feathery antennae, as seen here. Compare this to the other photo of an Atlas Moth on this page to see the variation in the wing patterns. This specimen was photographed at a butterfly exhibit. It is native to southern and eastern Asia.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Silk Moth (Copaxa syntheratoides)
Silk moth, male, Copaxa syntheratoides, subfamily Saturniinae, family Saturniidae.
□ This large silk moth has two color forms: peach-pink as seen here, and yellow-brown with more obvious dark striping in the wings. In both forms, each of its four wings have a single small eyespot (the two in the hind wings are hidden beneath the forewings in this photo).
Photographed by: Rachel Zott. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Costa Rica. Date: 23 May, 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 from the University of Florida, click here.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). 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, and another is bright green with long and curved black-tipped red horns 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.
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 hind wings. See the eyespot and the male by clicking here (bugguide.net). 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.”
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!”
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.
Add your photo here!
Insect facts
□ The pink-striped oakworm has three subspecies (see the next entries) that occupy different geographic ranges: the northern (Anisota virginiensis virginiensis); the southern (Anisota virginiensis pellucida); and the Texas pink-striped oakworm (Anisota virginiensis discolor).
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 just emerged (or eclosed) from its pupa. To see what it will look like when its wings have fully expanded, see the photo at Bugguide.net here.
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, female, Anisota virginiensis virginiensis, subfamily Ceratocampinae, family Saturniidae.
□ The wings of this northern pink-striped oakworm are just beginning to expand — she has just transformed from a pupa to an adult moth. 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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
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 hind wings, 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.”
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 hind wings 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 shot not only captures this white-lined sphinx mid-motion, but also with its amazingly long proboscis extended. The long proboscis is perfect for reaching the nectar deep with trumpet-shaped flowers.
Photographed and identified to subfamily by: Sunny-Judith Malmstrom. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Green Valley, Arizona, USA. Date: 14 October, 2021.
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). It is known as a galium or bedstraw hawk moth because its caterpillars tend to be found munching on an annual plant called bedstraw, which is in the genus Galium. The adult moths can be seen sipping nectar from lilacs in spring, as well as bee balm (Monarda) and bouncing bet also known as soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) in the 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.”
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 40mm in length and quite loud, louder than a bee with antennae that looked butterfly like.”
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.
□ 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.
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 hind wings 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.”
Typhon Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha typhon)
Typhon sphinx noth, 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 hind wings (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 a 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 hind wings 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.”
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 this image to top-down photos of the two species: 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.
Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor)
Elephant hawk moth, Deilephila elpenor, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The elephant hawk-moth is a 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.
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 Moth (Xylophanes tersa)
Tersa sphinx moth, Xylophanes tersa, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The tersa sphinx moth is an elegant-looking moth in shades of dark and pale brown with a very sleek profile, including abdomen that narrows to a point. To see the quite lovely hind wings (tucked away beneath the forewings in this photo), click here.
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 photographed in the northern Michigan, but it has historically been more of a southern 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.
Leslie says, “I was at the tire shop following a sidewall flat when I spotted this beauty on the side of the building. It made the bill a little easier to bear.”
Fig Sphinx (<i>Pachylia ficus</i>)
Fig sphinx, Pachylia ficus, subfamily Macroglossinae, family Sphingidae.
□ The forewing of the fig sphinx is mainly beige with a distinctive whitish marking at the tip, as well as 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 hind wings (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!”
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.
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 ☺.
Modest Sphinx (Pachysphinx modesta)
Modest sphinx, Pachysphinx modesta, subfamily Smerinthinae, family Sphingidae.
□ 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 ☺.
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.
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 hind wings (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 hind wings, 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 ☺.
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.”
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.
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.
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.net).
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.
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 10cm (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 magestic!”
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 hind wings (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.”
Small-Eyed Sphinx Moth (Paonias myops)
Small-eyed sphinx moth, Paonias myops, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ The lovely small-eyed sphinx moth has orange, gray and brown swirling patterns on its wings. Each of its hind wings, which are concealed beneath the forewings in this photo, have a blue-centered eye spot.
□ The forewings actually have a straight leading edge: The “hump” in the photo is the hind wing 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.”
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. Soon, this moth will have brown and black forewings with a small white spot in the center of each. 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).
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.”
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).
Carolina Sphinx Moth, aka Six-Spotted Hawk Moth (Manduca sexta)
Carolina sphinx moth, also known as a six-spotted hawkmoth, Manduca sexta, subfamily Sphinginae, family Sphingidae.
□ The Carolina sphinx moth is also called a six-spotted hawkmoth 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!”
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.”
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.”
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Insect facts
□ Want a list of all the butterfly and moth families — in one handy place? We made one for you! To see it, click here.

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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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 soild 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 hind wings, 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.

Limacodidae, the slug moths or cup moths

Blue-Striped Nettle Grub Moth, Parasa lepida
Blue-striped nettle caterpillar moth (or blue-striped nettle grub moth), Parasa lepida, subfamily Limacodinae, family Limacodidae.
□ The blue-striped nettle caterpillar moth a beautiful adult moth, yet its common name refers to the caterpillar.
Photographed by: Surani Pratik. Thank you for the identification, Sanjay Sondhi! Identified by: Sanjay Sondhi, Titli Trust. Location: Navsari, Gujarat, India. Date: 27 October, 2017.
Blue-Striped Nettle Grub Moth, Parasa lepida
Blue-striped nettle caterpillar moth (or blue-striped nettle grub moth), Parasa lepida, subfamily Limacodinae, family Limacodidae.
□ The blue-striped nettle caterpillar moth is named for the caterpillar, which in some stages has a blue stripe running down its back. This caterpillar is also sometimes called a stinging nettle caterpillar, because it has spines that can cause a reaction similar to that caused by a nettle plant. To see the caterpillar, click here.
Photographed by: Boo See Yang. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Singapore. Date: 18 March, 2021.
The photographer says, “It was sticking onto my car.”
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