Carolina Sphinx Moth

Manduca sexta

The Carolina Sphinx moth has a total length of 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 inches and has a 3.5 to 4.75 inch wingspan. The gray forewing has indistinct black lines and brown shading. The inner half of the subterminal line is jagged. The gray hindwing is small and has black and white bands. The abdomen has 6 pairs of yellow spots along the sides. The caterpillar is green with a dorsal orange, pink or red “horn” on the last abdominal segment. It has up to 7 oblique white lateral lines, edged with black on the upper side. The larva grows to 3 inches.

This moth has been photographed once in Fontenelle Forest in late June 2017. This is a common species that ranges from eastern Canada south to Florida and Texas. The adults fly mainly from June to September.

The larva eats crops including potato, tomato, tobacco, eggplant, pepper and others in the Nightshade family, Solanaceae. The mature larva drops to the ground and pupates underground. Adults feed on nectar from tubular flowers. Another common name is Tobacco Hornworm which refers to the caterpillar.

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