Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Small-Eyed Sphinx Moth

The small-eyed sphinx moth (Paonias myops) is one of the smallest and most strikingly beautiful sphinx moths in Missouri. They are commonly found around deciduous woodlands, suburbs and any other wooded areas. They are often attracted to porch lights and I frequently find them at the mercury vapor light I set out to attract insects.

Their wing span measures up to 2 15/16 inches and are (Photo by: Steve Scott) highly variable. The forewing is predominantly brown or black with wavy lines, and the hindwing has a small to large yellow patch enclosing a single black-rimmed

They are found throughout most of the United States and into parts of Canada. They are considered abundant to secure in all of their range. The adults do not eat, instead they gain all the nutrition they need in the caterpillar stage. The adult stage of their lives is for locating mates and laying eggs to carry on their genetics and grow their populations. As caterpillars they feed on a wide variety of hosts including A variety of plants including western chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), black cherry (P. serotina), sour cherry (P. cerasus), service berry (Amelanchier), and basswood (Tilia). The caterpillars can be difficult to identify as they are highly variable just like the adults.

The caterpillar here as feeding on a young wild cherry sapling near our garden. It was beautifully marked with these bright hot pink spots. Truly a striking caterpillar.


  1. i like the spots on the caterpillar but see some similarity to those that eat my tomatoes.

  2. This is a great blog post, with wonderful photos, too. Thanks!