Abbott’s Sphinx Moth

Sphecodina abottii
SPHINX MOTH FAMILY (Sphingidae)

Description
The Abbott’s Sphinx Moth has a wingspan of 2.5 to 2.75 inches. The forewing is violet gray to dark brown and has a bark-like pattern. The outer margin is deeply scalloped. The hindwing as a broad yellow basal patch. The abdomen is short and wide with a brushy three pronged tip. The caterpillar starts out green in the 1st instars with a horn on the last segment (A8). The middle instars are whitish to blue-green with faint, dark cross-stripes and the horn is replaced by a raised, orange knob on A 8. The last instars may be brown with a wood-grain pattern or brown with 10 pale green saddles along the back. In late instars the knob resembles an eye. The prolegs are banded black and white. The caterpillar grows to approximately 3 inches long.

Occurrence
The frequency of occurrence at Fontenelle Forest and Neale Woods is not known. The one shown here was photographed at Neale Woods in early June 2016. It occurs in east and central North America from Maine to Florida, west to Minnesota, Kansas and Texas. It is found in woodlands and woodland edges.

Comments
The larvae eat the leaves of grape vines, Ampelopsis vines and Virginia Creeper. The adults take nectar from flowers.

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