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Species Ceratomia undulosa - Waved Sphinx - Hodges#7787

7787 Waved Sphinx - Ceratomia undulosa - female Noctuoidea(?) - Ceratomia undulosa Manduca Hawkmoth, sexta or quinquemaculata? - Ceratomia undulosa Ceratomia undulosa Waved Sphinx  - Ceratomia undulosa waved sphinx 7787 - Ceratomia undulosa Waved Sphinx - Ceratomia undulosa Ceratomia undulosa - Hodges #7787 - Ceratomia undulosa
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
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 Ceratomia
Species undulosa (Waved Sphinx - Hodges#7787)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Ceratomia undulosa – (Walker, 1856)
* phylogenetic sequence # 226700
Explanation of Names
UNDULOSA: from the Latin "unda" (a wave); refers to the wavy lines on the adult's forewing
very common; one of our most common sphinx moths
Wingspan 78-110 mm
Adult: forewing variably pale gray to yellowish-brown with distinct white reniform spot and several dark wavy lines completely crossing wing; lacks black basal dash (an important distinction); hindwing brownish-gray with three darker lines crossing wing, and white and dark checkered fringe
The illustration in Covell's Guide (1) shows an individual darker than most.

Larva: body usually greenish, sometimes reddish, with 7 pairs of oblique lateral stripes; head with pink or yellow band running from eyes to crown; horn pinkish; lower end of stripes extend only to intersegmental area, and lack white granulose spotting; anal plate convex above; anal plate and anal prolegs with conspicuous black spotting
[adapted from description by David Wagner and Valerie Giles]
North America east of the Rockies: Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Texas and Colorado, north to Alberta; also recorded from Oregon, according to US distribution map (see Internet References below)
deciduous forests, woodlots, tree plantations, shrubby areas, suburban and riparian areas; adults are nocturnal and come to light
Larvae feed preferentially on leaves of ash (Fraxinus spp.), especially Green Ash (F. pennsylvanica) in Canada, but also feed on fringetree (Chionanthus spp.), hawthorn (Crataegus), lilac (Syringa), oak (Quercus), privet (Ligustrum), and other woody plants.
Adults probably do not feed.
Life Cycle
Caterpillars pupate underground; overwinters in pupa stage; two generations per year in the south; one generation in the north.
See Also
adult easily distinguished from Plebeian Sphinx (Paratrea plebeja) by lack of black basal dash on forewing (Waved Sphinx also has several wavy lines completely crossing forewing, whereas Plebeian Sphinx has only two lines - compare images of both species at CBIF)

larva similar to Great Ash Sphinx (Sphinx chersis), but lower end of stripes extend only to intersegmental area, and lack white granulose spotting
Print References
Covell, p. 33, plate 4 #10 (1)
Himmelman, plate A-4 (2)
Wagner, p. 12 (3)
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - photos of living and pinned adult, range map plus life history
live and pinned adult images and live larva images showing multiple instars, plus description, distribution, foodplants, flight season, biology, name origins, and other info (Bill Oehlke,
pinned adult image by Paul Opler, plus US distribution map, description, flight season, foodplants, habitat (
Moth Photographers Group - photograph of pinned adult and related species for comparison.
pinned adult image plus habitat, flight season, description, biology, distribution (Strickland Entomological Museum, U. of Alberta)
live adult images (Lynn Scott, Ontario)
adult images (Larry Line, Maryland)
live adult image showing good detail of forewings and hindwings (Dave Czaplak, Maryland)
live adult and larva images by Terry Thormin, plus other info (Royal Alberta Museum)
live larva image plus description, seasonality, foodplants, life cycle (David Wagner and Valerie Giles, Caterpillars of Eastern Forests, USGS)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (CBIF)
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.Caterpillars of Eastern Forests
David L. Wagner, Valerie Giles, Richard C. Reardon, Michael L. McManus. 1998. U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.