Laurel Sphinx Moth

Sphinx kalmiae

The Laurel Sphinx Moth has a wingspan of 3 to 4 inches. The forewing is fawn-colored with dark brown shading along the inner margins and veins. The Subterminal line is a row of white-edged black wedges. The narrow hindwing is black with a broad white stripe. The caterpillar is blue, yellow or green with 7 oblique, white abdominal lines edged black above and usually yellow below. The green head is marked with a black line. The spiracles are orange. The horn is blue with tiny black spines. The mid-abdominal prolegs have a yellow band above black crescents at the bottom of the leg.

The frequency of occurrence at the two nature centers are not currently known. It has been photographed coming to lights at Neale Woods in early June 2016. It occurs in woodlands, forests, yards and nurseries from Manitoba to Newfoundland south to north Florida and Louisiana. Adults fly from May to Aug.

The larvae eat the leaves of ash, lilac, privet and plants in the olive family (Oleaceae). The caterpillars feed from the underside of leaves and sever the petiole of each leaf it has fed on.

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