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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

890091 – 7776   Manduca quinquemaculatus (Haworth, 1803)
             Five-spotted Hawk Moth, The Yellow-spotted Unicorn

© Pete Thompson
Distribution: Found occasionally in southern Canada from Nova Scotia to Ontario, and in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Also throughout the United States, but uncommon in the Great Plains and the Southeast.
and Size:
One principal generation over most of the east, with mature caterpillars from July to November: Adults fly year-round in the Deep South, and from May to October to the northward. In Maryland, Glaser reports them from 30 May to 21 October. Wingspan 90 - 135 mm
Larva and
Host Plants:
The larvae, known as tomato hornworms, are green or brown with eight white chevrons on each side and a black "horn" at the end of the abdomen. The host plants are tomato, tobacco, potato and other members of the nightshade family.
Field Marks:
  • usually five pairs of abdominal spots.
  • lower half of subterminal line nearly straight.
  • forewing and hindwing fringes gray.
  • two sharp zigzag median lines on hindwing separated by white background.
  • Similar Species:
    • The Carolina Sphinx Moth, M. sexta, is distinguished from M. quinquemaculata by the following characteristics:
      • 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 zigzag black median lines fused together with very little white between them.
    • 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.
    • Pinned specimens of related species. (Hint: select View by Region on the related species page.)
    Synonymy: Sphinx quinquemaculatus Haworth, 1803
    Phlegethontius celeus Hübner, [1821]
    Protoparce wirti Schaus, 1927
    • Barcode of Life (BOLD) - Caution: DNA barcode provides evidence of relatedness, not proof of identification, and some BOLD specimens shown may not be sequenced.
    • Covell Field Guide p.32; Pl. 3(4, female).
    • Factsheet at Florida Featured Creatures.
    • Hall et al., 2021. The Moths of North Carolina - website (identification, habitats and life history)
    • Haworth, A.H., 1803. Lepidoptera Britannica, 1: 59.
    • Hodges, R. W., 1971. Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 21:p. 31; pl. 1.6. order or free PDF
    • Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler, 2009. Moths of Western North America, Pl. 40.6m; p. 244. Book Review and ordering
    • Species Page at Bill Oehlke's moth website - Manduca quinquemaculatus
    • Species Page at BugGuide.Net
    • Species Page at Mass Moths
    • Species Page at Pacific Northwest Moths
    • Species page at Moths of North Dakota.
    • Tuttle, J. P., 2007. Hawk Moths of North America: p. 50; pl. 8.3.
    • Wagner, D. L., (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America, p. 249.
    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Robert J. Nuell, Jr.
    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Arlene Ripley
    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Maury Heiman
    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Bob Patterson
    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Ken Childs
    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    105mm – © Jim Vargo
    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Valerie G. Bugh

    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Bryan Reynolds

    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Janice Stiefel

    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Canadian National Collection LG

    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © Janice Stiefel

    Manduca quinquemaculatus
    © John G. Franclemont CUIC LG

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