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Nessus Sphinx Moth (Amphion floridensis)

The Nessus sphinx moth is a member of the family of sphinx moths. It is one of the few moths that fly during the day and can be easily observed in North America.

Nessus Sphinx Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Sphingidae
  • Genus: Amphion
  • Scientific Name: Amphion floridensis

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

This larva changes its appearance as it goes through its instars, starting as transparent, then becoming green with white spots before turning brown in the last stage. The spiracles and tail protrusions are black.

Nessus Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

They pupate underground in shallow chambers.

Nessus Sphinx Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

It has a stout body, with a tuft at its end and two bright yellow bands on its abdomen.

Forewings: When the wings are opened, the reddish-brown pattern of the upper side of the wings is visible. When closed, the brown bands are visible on the base, middle, and outer areas.

Hindwings: When the wings are opened and closed, a dark yellow leading edge and a reddish-orange middle band are observed.

Average wingspan: 37-55 mm

Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: April – July

Amphion floridensis

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Egg

Females lay eggs near the host plant.

Nessus Sphinx Moth Egg

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Quick Facts

DistributionEastern US, Canada, and south of Mexico
HabitatForests, streamsides, and suburbs
PredatorsBirds
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsCapsicum, peppervine, and grapevine
Adult DietNectar from flowers like lilac, herbrobert, beauty bush, mock orange, and Phlox

Did You Know

  • This moth was first classified as Sphinx nessus by Dutch entomologist Pieter Cramer in 1777. However, the name was invalidated as British entomologist Dru Drury had already used it in 1773. Its current name was given in 1920 by American entomologist Benjamin Preston Clark.
Nessus Sphinx

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Nessus Sphinx Moth Image

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Nessus Sphinx Moth Picture

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