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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

890119 – 7810   Sphinx gordius Cramer, 1780
             Apple Sphinx

Aaron Hunt
Distribution: SK, MB, ON, Canada. WI, IL, KY, VA, NJ, CT, VT, FL, USA.
and Size:
One brood in most of its range, two in the southern portions. Glaser reports flight dates from 8 May - 7 July in Maryland, but it is found into September in much of its range. In Florida its season is from February into April. Wingspan 68 - 95 mm.
Larva and
Host Plants:
The larva has been found on a wide variety of food plants including larch, apple, sweet gale, blueberries, huckleberries, white spruce, sweetfern, rose,spirea and other woody species. Green hornworm: rarely purple-brown, small black circles over thorax and between spiracles, seven pairs of oblique lateral lines, often edged with magenta or black above. Spiracles orange. Horn usually green with black lateral line.
Field Marks:
7810.1 Sphinx poecila has forewing fringes checkered black and white, while the hind wing fringes are almost totally white. In S. gordius the forewing fringes are mostly black with some white, and hindwing fringes are mostly white with some black patches.
7810.2 Sphinx oslari (Rothschild & Jordan, 1903) is found in UT, CO.
Similar Species:
  • Pinned specimens of related species. (Hint: select View by Region on the related species page.)
Synonymy: Sphinx gordius Cramer, 1779
Sphinx campestris McDunnough, 1931
  • 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.35; Pl. 5(3, male).
  • Hall et al., 2021. The Moths of North Carolina - website (identification, habitats and life history)
  • Hodges, R. W., 1971. Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 21:p. 65; pl. 5.3-9. order or free PDF
  • Kitching, I.J., 2019. Sphingidae Taxonomic Inventory, species page
  • Species Page at Bill Oehlke's moth website - Sphinx gordius
  • Species Page at Block Island Moths
  • Species Page at BugGuide.Net
  • Species Page at Mass Moths
  • Tuttle, J. P., 2007. Hawk Moths of North America: p. 86; pl. 6.9, 11.
  • Wagner, D. L., (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America, p. 258.
Sphinx gordius
Aaron Hunt
Sphinx gordius
80mm – Jim Vargo
Sphinx gordius
Bruce Duncan

Sphinx gordius
Canadian National Collection LG

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