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Species Manduca sexta - Carolina Sphinx - Hodges#7775

Carolina Sphinx or Five Spotted Hawkmoth - Manduca sexta Carolina Sphinx - Hodges#7775 - Manduca sexta Carolina Sphinx Moth or Six Spotted hawk Moth, or...? - Manduca sexta Manduca sexta? - Manduca sexta Manduca sexta Manduca sexta Manduca sexta Manduca sexta - Hodges #7775 - Manduca sexta
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
No Taxon (Moths)
Superfamily Bombycoidea
Family Sphingidae (Sphinx Moths)
Subfamily Sphinginae
Tribe Sphingini
Genus Manduca
Species sexta (Carolina Sphinx - Hodges#7775)
Hodges Number
7775
Other Common Names
Six-spotted Sphinx Moth
Tobacco Hornworm (caterpillar)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Manduca sexta (Linnaeus, 1763)
Sphinx sexta Linnaeus, 1763
Sphinx lycopersici Boisduval, [1875]
Sphinx nicotianae Boisduval, [1875]
Explanation of Names
SEXTA: meaning six; there are six orangish-yellow spots on each side of the abdomen in adults.
Size
Wingspan 90-120 mm.
Larva to 81 mm.
Identification
Adult: Large. Forewing gray with indistinct black lines and brown shading; usually has six pairs of yellow spots on abdomen.
Hindwing small, banded black and white, with two black zigzag median lines very close together


Larva: large green body; dorsal "horn" (usually curved and orange, pink or red) on terminal abdominal segment; up to seven oblique whitish lateral lines, edged with black on upper borders.

The similar looking Tomato Hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata, has eight v-shaped stripes and a straight blue-black horn. These caterpillars are often confused and misidentified.
Range
Florida to Massachusetts, west through southern Ontario, Michigan, and Minnesota to Colorado and California. Ranges south through Mexico, West Indies, neotropics to Argentina.
Habitat
Varied, including fields, agricultural lands.
Season
The main flight period is May to October; year round in Florida.
Food
Larvae feed on leaves of potato, tomato, tobacco (Nightshade family--Solanaceae).
Adults take nectar from deep-throated flowers, such as Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), moonflower (Calonyction aculeata), and petunia (Petunia hybrida).
Life Cycle
Several generations per year in the southern states; two generations per year farther north; larval development averages twenty days.
Mature larvae drop to the ground and pupate underground.
1. first instar caterpillar. 2. later caterpillar. 3. pupa. 4. adult female
Remarks
Can be a pest of crops.
See Also
Manduca quinquemaculata (Five-spotted Hawk Moth) is similar as is its caterpillar, the Tomato Hornworm (below).

Ceratomia catalpae (Catalpa Sphinx) adult is similar
Print References
Covell, C.V. 1984. Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 32; plates 1, 3. (1)
Himmelman, J. 2002. Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard. Down East Books. plate A-2. (2)
Hodges, R.W., 1971. The Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 21. The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation. p. 29; plate 1, fig. 7. (3)
Powell, J.A. & P.A. Opler 2009. Moths of Western North America. University of California Press. plate 40, fig. 5; p. 244. (4)
Salsbury, G.A. & S.C. White. Insects in Kansas. Kansas Dept. of Agriculture. p. 324. (5)
Wagner, D.L. 2005. Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press. p. 248 (6)
Works Cited
1.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
2.Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard
John Himmelman. 2002. Down East Books.
3.The Moths of America North of Mexico Fascicle 21 Sphingidae
Ronald W. Hodges. 1971. The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation.
4.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.
5.Insects in Kansas
Glenn A. Salsbury and Stephan C. White. 2000. Kansas Dept. of Agriculture.
6.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.
7.Pacific Northwest Moths
8.North American Moth Photographers Group
9.The Barcode of Life Database (BOLD)
10.Butterflies of North America