Google
WWW MPG website only

Digital Guide to Moth Identification

Sphingidae
890090.007775Manduca sexta (Linnaeus, 1763) – Carolina Sphinx Moth

© 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
    • 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 sexta Linnaeus, 1763
    • Sphinx caestri Blanchard, 1854
    • Sphinx carolina Linnaeus, 1764
    • Protoparce griseata Butler, 1875
    • Protoparce jamaicensis Butler, 1877
    • Protoparce luciae Gehlen, 1928
    • Sphinx lycopersici Boisduval, [1875]
    • Sphinx nicotianae Boisduval, [1875]
    • Sphinx nicotianae Mιnιtriιs, 1857
    • Sphinx paphus Cramer, 1779
    References
    • Barcode of Life (BOLD) - Caution: Some specimens shown may not be sequenced. DNA barcode provides evidence of relatedness not proof of identification.
    • Covell Field Guide p.32; Pl. 3(7).
    • Factsheet at Florida Featured Creatures.
    • 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. 29; pl. 1.7. order
    • Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler, 2009. Moths of Western North America, Pl. 40.5m; p. 244. Book Review and ordering
    • Species Page at Bill Oehlke's moth website - Manduca sexta
    • Species Page at BugGuide.Net
    • Species Page at Pacific Northwest Moths
    • Species page at Moths of North Dakota.
    • Tuttle, J. P., 2007. Hawk Moths of North America: p. 48; pl. 8.4.
    • Wagner, D. L., (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America, p. 248.
    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
    © Martha Reinhardt
    originally
    Manduca sexta
    © Peter J. Bryant
    hatchling
    Manduca sexta
    © Peter J. Bryant
    early instar
    Manduca sexta
    © Peter J. Bryant
    middle instar
    Manduca sexta
    © Peter J. Bryant
    late instar
    Manduca sexta
    © Peter J. Bryant
    pre pupa
    Manduca sexta
    © Peter J. Bryant
    pupa molt
    Manduca sexta
    © Peter J. Bryant
    pupa
    Manduca sexta
    © Hannah Nendick-Mason

    Manduca sexta
    © Martha Reinhardt


    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