Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Waved Sphinx Moth

 This pretty gray moth is a Waved Sphinx Moth (Ceratomia undulosa), they are found throughout Eastern North America. There are records from Oregon and Texas as well. These moths are large with a wingspan up to 4 inches. Of all the sphinx moths in NW Missouri this is without a doubt the most common one I see. They frequently come to a mercury vapor light that I have set up near our timber, sometimes as many as 3 or 4 at a time. Tonight however was the first time I had ever seen the caterpillar. It was feeding on an Ash Tree near our implement shed. The caterpillar was very large at almost 3 1/2 inches long and was a beautiful green color.


These moths are easily distinguished from other gray moths by two white spots located on the forewings. These spots are visible in the first picture. Mating occurs in the early to mid summer. Females lay their eggs on the host plant. For this species the hosts will be Ash, Lilac, Hawthorn and other woody plants. Some reports indicate they  may feed on Oaks, but this is probably in error.


The adults most likely do not feed. Look for them  in deciduous hardwood forests, orchards, timbered edges and suburban areas.

13 comments:

  1. It almost looks like a tomatoe worm, do wasps paratise these also?

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  2. They do look very similar to the tomato hornworm, they are in the same family of moths. Yes, this one is parasitized quite often by brachonid wasps.

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  3. Found a large number of the caterpillars on a vine here in Southern Victoria, Australia on the weekend. Never seen anything like it!

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  4. It is an amazing sight to see these caterpillars in large numbers feeding on trees.

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  5. Only on australia apparently...I plant the herb dill to attract these, rarly see one a season...

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  6. We found one in our outhouse (beside ash trees) in southern Manitoba, Canada July 5th, 2012.

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  7. I found this moth in my garden (in illinois) a few days ago and had about 6 of the caterpillars a few weeks ago!

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  8. Found one of these today outside my house(Massachusetts) in a lilac bush. So cool!!

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  9. I had found 6 of them on my eggplant plant in my garden. I live in the Niagara Region of Ontario. Beautiful little creature.

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  10. We found 5 or 6 of these in different sizes in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They ate a whole Moon Flower plant down to stems in 4 days.

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  11. Had one with about a 4" wingspan get in my house last night. I live in Dallas, Texas. :). Scared the crap out of me... It hit the wall in my kitchen and it sounded like someone threw a rock! :). I took a picture... He is beautiful!

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  12. For the past three years I have the caterpillars on my Sweet Almond Verbena plant. It is right outside a window and I watch them grow from tiny to very large caterpillars. This is in Ellenton,FL south of Tampa.

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  13. We had a caterpillar in our home. At first I thought it was a hairball from the cat...then it moved. Since we live in Phoenix,Az I assume it made it inside via recently purchased fruit (bananas and peaches). It was quite huge and unfortunately our cat or dog punctured it and a black substance came out. Must not have tasted very good as neither of them wanted anything to do with it. It was alive and was put outside.

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