Hummingbird and Sphinx Moths Common to Colorado

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Taxonomy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Hexapoda (including Insecta)
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Sphingidae
Genus: Eumorpha
Species: achemon
Scientific Name
Eumorpha achemon
(Drury)
Common Names

achemon sphinx

Compiled by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University:

Hummingbird and Sphinx Moths Common to Colorado

Eumorpha achemon (Drury)

and

Ceratomia amyntor (Geyer)
Hemaris thysbe (Fabricius)
Hyles gallaii (Rottenburg)
Hyles lineata (Fabricius)
Manduca quinquemaculata (Haworth)
Manduca sexta (Linnaeus)
Paonias myops (J.E. Smith)
Pachysphinx modesta (Harris)
Pachysphinx occidentalis (H. Edwards)
Smerinthus jamaicensis (Drury)
Sphinx chersis (Hubner)
Sphinx drupiferarum (J.E. Smith)

Lepidoptera: Sphingidae

Contents

Hosts

Grapes (Vitis species) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) serve as hosts for Eumorpha achemon.
Larvae of other sphinx moth species feed on: serviceberries (Almelanchier species), birches (Betula species), hawthorns (Crataegus species), ashes (Fraxinus species), honeysuckles (Lonicera species), privets (Ligustrum species), cherries, plums (Prunus species), aspens, cottonwoods, and poplars (Populus species), willows (Salix species and cultivars), ashes (Fraxinus species and cultivars), apples and crabapples (Malus species, hybrids, and cultivars),snowberries (Symphocarpus species), lilacs (Syringa species), elms (Ulmus species, hybrids, and cultivars), and viburnums (Viburnum species).

Many of these sphinx moths have larval stages that feed on an assortment of herbaceous plants including: eggplants, nightshades, peppers, potato, tomato, tobacco and other members of Solanaceae, primroses, four o'clocks, and peonies.

Damage and Diagnosis

Larvae feed on foliage of Virginia creeper and grape but damage is late in the season and minor. However the larvae purplish-brown larvae, a "hornless hornworm" often attract attention when they are observed in late summer and early fall.

Life History and Habits

Achemon sphinx winter as pupa, within small earthen cells constructed a few inches below ground in the general vicinity of previously infested plantings. Adults may emerge in June, but are most common during July at which time eggs are laid on host plants. The newly hatched larvae are green with very long horn; however, the horn is lost at the first molt, leaving just an "eyespot" marking. The larvae continue to grow through summer, becoming full grown in late August or September. They then leave the plants, typically wandering several yards away, to find a place where they may dig and pupate. There is one generation a year.

Related Species

The whitelined sphinx, Hyles lineata (F.), occasionally feeds on grape, as well as a wide range of herbaceous plants, notably primrose. The caterpillars are boldly patterned hornworms that may range from green to black with yellow markings. The adult is the most common "hummingbird moth" found in the western US.

Hummingbird or Sphinx Moths Common to Colorado

(Adult Stages of Hornworms)
Common Name Scientific Name Common Name(s) of Host(s)
Elm sphinx Ceratomia amyntor (Geyer) elms
Great ash sphinx Sphinx chersis (Hubner) ashes, lilacs, privets
Wildcherry sphinx Sphinx drupiferarum (J.E. Smith) plums, cherries, and other Prunus species
(no common name) Paonias myops (J.E. Smith) cherries, serviceberries
Giant poplar sphinx Pachysphinx modesta (Harris) poplars, willows
Columbia Basin sphinx Pachysphinx occidentalis (H. Edwards) poplars, willows
Achemon sphinx Eumorpha achemon (Drury) grapes, Virginia creeper
Common clearwing sphinx Hemaris thysbe (Fabricius) honeysuckles, viburnums, hawthorns, snowberry, cherries, plums
(no common name) Hyles gallaii (Rottenburg) willow weed, woodruff, bedstraw
Whitelined sphinx Hyles lineata (Fabricius) purselane (Portulaca oleraceae), apples, primroses, four o'clocks, peonies, others
Twinspot sphinx Smerinthus jamaicensis (Drury) poplars, birches, elms, willows, ashes, apples
Tomato hornworm Manduca quinquemaculata (Haworth) nightshade, potato, tomato, tobacco family plants (members of Solanaceace)
Tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta (Linnaeus) nightshade, potato, tomato, tobacco family plants (members of Solanaceace)


The information herein is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and that listing of commercial products, necessary to this guide, implies no endorsement by the authors or the Extension Services of Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming or Montana. Criticism of products or equipment not listed is neither implied nor intended. Due to constantly changing labels, laws and regulations, the Extension Services can assume no liability for the suggested use of chemicals contained herein. Pesticides must be applied legally complying with all label directions and precautions on the pesticide container and any supplemental labeling and rules of state and federal pesticide regulatory agencies. State rules and regulations and special pesticide use allowances may vary from state to state: contact your State Department of Agriculture for the rules, regulations and allowances applicable in your state and locality.

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