Home / Hawk Moth (Sphingidae) / Big Poplar Sphinx Moth(Pachysphinx occidentalis)

Big Poplar Sphinx Moth(Pachysphinx occidentalis)

The big poplar sphinx moth is a member of the family of hawk moths. They are found throughout North America and can be found in two color morphs – a pale one and a dark one. These moths have two subspecies namely Pachysphinx occidentalis occidentalis and Pachysphinx occidentalis regalis.

Big Poplar Sphinx Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Sphingidae
  • Genus: Pachysphinx
  • Scientific Name: Pachysphinx occidentalis

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

The larvae are green with yellow stripes.

Big Poplar Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

After the larva goes through all of its instars, they get ready to pupate underground in shallow burrows.

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When the wings are opened, they are yellow-brown when the moth is pale and dark gray when it is dark in color. When the wings are closed, the well-defined lines and bands remain observable.

Hindwing: When the wings are opened, a crimson patch covering a significant part of the upper side is visible. When the wings are closed, the pink patch is no more visible, yet the lined patterns can be seen.

Average wingspan: 13-15 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: May to September

Pachysphinx occidentalis

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Egg

The eggs are laid on the host plant’s leaves.

Big Poplar Sphinx Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

DistributionCanada and the US, including North Dakota west to eastern Washington; south to Texas, southern California, and Baja California Norte.
HabitatRiparian areas and suburbs
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsCottonwood, poplar, and Salix
Adult DietFlower nectar

Did You Know

  • English entomologist Henry Edwards first described this species in 1875.
Big Poplar Sphinx Moth Image

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Big Poplar Sphinx Moth Picture

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