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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

890118 – 7809   Sphinx kalmiae Smith, 1797
             Laurel Sphinx

Carol Wolf
Distribution: Ranges from Newfoundland west to Saskatchewan and southward to Florida and Louisiana. It is widespread but uncommon in Maryland, according to John Glaser. It is uncommon in the south. It is suggested by Heppner as a species straying into, but not breeding in, Florida.
and Size:
One brood in the north, at least two in the south. Glaser reports flight dates from 17 May - 28 August. Wingspan 75 - 103 mm.
Larva and
Host Plants:
Food plants include ash, fringe-tree, laurel, lilac and privet. A green hornworm, it has seven oblique lateral lines edged with black and yellow. A black line on the head is edged with yellow. There are yellow and black markings on the abdominal prolegs (fifth or final instar), and it has orange spiracles. The horn is blue with tiny black spines.
Field Marks:
  • forewing yellowish brown with black shading along inner margin.
  • whitish subterminal line.
  • hindwing tan, with black border, median line and basal patch.
Similar Species:
  • Pinned specimens of related species. (Hint: select View by Region on the related species page.)
Synonymy: Sphinx kalmiae Smith, 1797
  • 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. 4(6, 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. 64; pl. 5.2. order or free PDF
  • Species Page at Bill Oehlke's moth website - Sphinx kalmiae
  • 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. 84; pl. 6.5.
  • Wagner, D. L., (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America, p. 259.
Sphinx kalmiae
David Bree
Sphinx kalmiae
Bill Johnson
Sphinx kalmiae
Nolie Schneider
Sphinx kalmiae
Ron White
Sphinx kalmiae
Ken Childs
Sphinx kalmiae
90mm – Jim Vargo
Sphinx kalmiae
Tim Dyson
5th instar
Sphinx kalmiae
Canadian National Collection LG

Sphinx kalmiae
Dave Pelletier

Sphinx kalmiae
Tim Dyson
4th instar
Sphinx kalmiae
Tim Dyson
Sphinx kalmiae
Siobhan Basile

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