Modest Sphinx Moth (Pachysphinx modesta)
The modest sphinx moth is a member of the family of hawk moths, first described in 1839 by American entomologist Thaddeus William Harris.
- Family: Sphingidae
- Genus: Pachysphinx
- Scientific Name: Pachysphinx modesta
Description and Identification
The larva is green and covered with white spots. Unlike other caterpillars, its head is pinkish-purple and shaped like a flat teardrop. There are 3-6 yellow diagonal lines throughout its body and a white diagonal line that merges with the white horn sticking out from their posterior end.
The pupation phase takes place in the burrows, underground.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.
Color and Appearance
Forewing: When the wings are opened, it is observed that the upperside is gray, with the basal and outer regions being lighter than the median. When the wings are closed, the colors remain visible.
Hindwing: When the wings are opened, it is gray with a crimson spot and a blue triangle-like pattern near the outer margin. When the wings are closed, the crimson and blue regions cannot be seen.
Average wingspan: 7.6 – 12 cm
Flight pattern: Erratic
Season: May to September
Eggs are laid on the host plants, hatching in about 9 days.
|Other names||Poplar Sphinx moth|
|Distribution||From Canada to the southern United States|
|Habitat||Moist mountainlands, also creeks, river banks, and streams|
|Lifespan of Adults||10-30 days|
|Host Plants||Aspen, cottonweed, poplar, and willow|
|Adult Diet||Does not feed|
Did You Know
- This moth closely resembles the Big Poplar Sphinx Moth, and once, both species shared the same common name.