Google
WWW Moth Photographers Group website only

Digital Guide to Moth Identification

2264007775Manduca sexta – Carolina Sphinx Moth – (Linnaeus, 1763)

Carol Wolf
Distribution: From Massachusetts, New York and so. Ontario west to Minnesota and Colorado, to the southern borders of the U.S., including southern California.
Seasonality
and Size:
Adults may be found throughout the year in Florida, and from May to October to northward. Glaser records the species in Maryland from May 24 to September 17. Wingspan 105 - 120 mm.
Larva and
Host Plants:
The larva, known as the tobacco hornworm, is green or brown. It has seven diagonal white lines on each side, and a red "horn" at the end of the abdomen. It feeds on plants in the nightshade family, and may be a pest on tomato and tobacco. Adults may nectar at flowers such as moonflower, morning glory, honeysuckle and petunia.
Description/
Field Marks:
  • usually six pairs of yellow spots on the abdomen.
  • irregular wavy subterminal line on the forewing.
  • narrow white marks on the forewing and hindwing fringes.
  • hindwing with two zigzag black median lines that are fused together with very little white between them.
  • Similar Species: The Five-spotted Hawk Moth, M. quinquemaculata, may be distinguished from M. sexta by the following:

  • usually five pairs of yellow abdominal spots
  • lower half of subterminal line nearly straight
  • forewing and hindwing fringes grey
  • zigzag median lines on hindwing sharper and separated by more white.

    Another similar species, Manduca occulta, is found in So. Arizona and rarely in So. Florida. In this moth, the light areas in the fringe of the forewing are grey rather than white and about as broad as the dark areas.
  • References
    Data compiled and contributed by Nolie Schneider from references cited.

    Manduca sexta
    John Himmelman
    Manduca sexta
    Alan Chin-Lee
    Manduca sexta
    Bob Patterson
    Manduca sexta
    Alan Chin-Lee
    Manduca sexta
    105mm – Jim Vargo
    Manduca sexta
    Troy Mullens [T] LG

    Manduca sexta
    John Himmelman

    Manduca sexta
    Peter J. Bryant
    middle instar
    Manduca sexta
    Hannah Nendick-Mason

    Manduca sexta
    Martha Reinhardt
    originally
    Manduca sexta
    Martha Reinhardt
    9 hrs. later
    Manduca sexta
    Peter J. Bryant
    hatchling
    Manduca sexta
    Peter J. Bryant
    early instar
    Manduca sexta
    Peter J. Bryant
    late instar
    Manduca sexta
    Peter J. Bryant
    pre pupa
    Manduca sexta
    Peter J. Bryant
    pupa
    Manduca sexta
    Peter J. Bryant
    pupa molt

    Moth Photographers Group  at the  Mississippi Entomological Museum  at the  Mississippi State University

    Send suggestions, or submit photographs to Webmaster — Moth Photographers Group

    Database design and scripting support provided by Mike Boone