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Species Paonias excaecata - Blinded Sphinx - Hodges#7824

It's a blinded sphinx! - Paonias excaecata Blinded Sphinx - Paonias excaecatus - Paonias excaecata Blinded Sphinx - Paonias excaecata Paonias excaecatus - Paonias excaecata Sphynx Moth? - Paonias excaecata Large Moth, Creston BC - Paonias excaecata Blinded Sphinx - Paonias excaecata Blinded Sphinx - Paonias excaecata
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Bombycoidea (Silkworm, Sphinx, and Royal Moths)
Family Sphingidae (Sphinx Moths)
Subfamily Smerinthinae
Tribe Smerinthini
Genus Paonias
Species excaecata (Blinded Sphinx - Hodges#7824)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Blind-eyed Sphinx
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Paonias excaecata (alternate spelling)
Sometimes misspelled "exaecatus", probably repeating a mistake in Covell's plate in the first edition (1), corrected in the second (2005) edition
Explanation of Names
EXCAECATUS: from Latin excaeco "to blind", which derives from Latin "caecus" (blind)
BLINDED SPHINX: speculative origin - the small blue spot (or "iris") on the hindwing has no central black spot (or "pupil") - see image - and is therefore "blind"; compare the hindwing spot of Smerinthus cerisyi whose large black pupil allows it to "see"
Wingspan 55-95 mm
Adult: forewing various shades of brown with conspicuously scalloped outer margin; fringe white, composed of thin arcs in sinuses between scallops; median area may have purplish tint, and subterminal area may have greenish tint; hindwing brown in upper half, pink in lower half; large black spot near inner margin has small central blue spot with no black spot inside it

Larva: body green or yellowish-green, heavily granulose, and with dense white speckles; oblique yellow line extends from base of proleg on A6 to dorsal horn on A8; six oblique yellow lines from A2-A6; white spiracles with black rim; occasionally red spots near spiracles and prolegs; horn somewhat arched below, extending to end of body; head triangular with line of whitened granulose spots running to vertex
all of United States and southern Canada
open deciduous forests, woodland edges, clearings, shrubby areas, gardens; adults are nocturnal and attracted to light
adults fly May-August; most common in June and July in the north and west
larvae present May-November
Larvae feed on leaves of a variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, including apple, basswood, birch, cherry, elm, Hardhack (Spiraea douglasii), hawthorn, Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatum), Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor), poplar, rose, serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), willow
Adults do not feed
Life Cycle
two or three generations per year in the south, one generation in the north and west; overwinters as a pupa

Click on an image to view the life cycle:

See Also
compare adult images of related species at CBIF
Print References
Covell, p. 37, plate 6 #3. Specific epithet misspelled on plate in first edition (1); corrected in second (2005) edition
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - species page with photos of live and pinned adults.
Maryland Moths adult images (Larry Line)
Butterflies and Moths of Vancouver Island live larva and adult images, plus foodplants and other info (Jeremy Tatum)
Macromoths of Northwest Forests and Woodlands pinned adult image plus description, habitat, flight season, foodplants (Jeff Miller, USGS)
Works Cited
1.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.