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Giant Sphinx Moth (Cocytius antaeus)

The giant sphinx moth is a member of the family of hawk moths. British entomologist Dru Drury first described this species in 1773.

Giant Sphinx Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Sphingidae
  • Genus: Cocytius
  • Scientific Name: Cocytius antaeus

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

They are large, turning deep green during their final instar, with a horn on their rear end. Their green coloration helps them camouflage well with the color of the leaves they feed on.

Giant Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

After the larvae mature, they begin to pupate underground that takes a few weeks or even months.

Giant Sphinx Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When the wings are opened, they have a yellowish-gray blurry coloration. When the wings are closed, the color remains the same.

Hindwing: When the wings are opened, they appear dark gray overall all but for the base that is yellow. When the wings are closed, the grayish-yellow pattern can still be seen.

Average wingspan: 12.6-17.8 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: Not recorded

Cocytius antaeus

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Egg

Females lay their eggs on the custard apple plant.

Quick Facts

DistributionFlorida and the tropical part of America south to Brazil and Peru. Also, sometimes in South Texas.
HabitatTropical and subtropical lowlands
Lifespan of Adults10-30 days
Host PlantsCustard apple
Adult DietFlower nectar

Did You Know

  • This moth was once believed to be the only insect with a long enough proboscis (sucking mouthpart) capable of pollinating the rare ghost orchid.
Giant Sphinx Moth Image

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Giant Sphinx Moth Picture

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