Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Agrius cingulata - Pink-spotted Hawkmoth - Hodges#7771

Hornworm - Agrius cingulata Huge bright green horned caterpillar with brown zig zag stripes. - Agrius cingulata Pink-spotted Hawkmoth - Agrius cingulata Moth 092314 ID - Agrius cingulata Brown caterpillar - Agrius cingulata Sphinx sp. - Agrius cingulata Lepidoptera ID - Agrius cingulata Agrius cingulata
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 Sphinginae
Tribe Sphingini
Genus Agrius
Species cingulata (Pink-spotted Hawkmoth - Hodges#7771)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Sweetpotato Hornworm (larva)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Agrius cingulata – (Fabricius, 1775)
Agrius cingulatus (alternate spelling of specific epithet)
Herse cingulata
* phylogenetic sequence #410450
the only species in this genus in North America
wingspan 95-120 mm (1)
larva to 100 mm
Adult: forewing brownish-gray with black wavy lines; upper median area usually darker than remainder of wing; brown and/or white shading and markings beyond PM line; abdomen of typical form has broken pink crossbars (a diagnostic feature) and pink at base of hindwing; form "decolora" has no pink on abdomen or hindwing

Larva: body of final instar may be green, yellow, brown, or gray; dorsolateral black diagonal stripes usually connect to lateral line of black oval spots
resident from southern United States to northern South America; migrates in late summer occasionally to northern states, rarely to British Columbia and southeastern Canada, and very rarely to west coast of Europe
also resident in Galapagos Islands and Hawaii, and migrates in southern summer from northern South America to Argentina and Falkland Islands
lowlands, open areas; adults are nocturnal and come to light
adults fly June-October (temperate North America); June-November (eastern North Carolina)
larvae in late summer and fall
Larvae feed on Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas), jimsonweed (Datura spp.), pawpaw (Asimina spp.), and other plants in the Potato (Solanaceae) and Morning-glory (Convolvulaceae) families.
Adults take nectar from deep-throated flowers such as morning-glory (Convolvulus spp).
Life Cycle
Larvae feed both day and night, and pupate in a chamber in the soil. One to three generations per year; overwinters in the pupa stage.
See Also
If the diagnostic pink abdominal crossbands are hidden by the forewings (or absent, as in the non-pink form "decolora"), the following characteristics may be useful...
Rustic Sphinx (Manduca rustica) forewing has more white in AM and subterminal areas
Pawpaw Sphinx (Dolba hyloeus) is only half as large and has more white in AM and subterminal areas
Five-spotted Hawk Moth (Manduca quinquemaculata) and Carolina Sphinx (Manduca sexta) forewings are more uniformly colored and have less prominent black lines
(compare images of all 5 species at CBIF)
Print References
Hodges, R. W., 1971. Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 21; p. 22; pl. 1.1(2)
Covell, p. 31, plate 3 #1 (1)
Brimley, p. 263--Herse cingulata (3)
Holland, p. 43, plate VI--Herse cingulata (4)
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - range map, photos of living and pinned adults.
Pink Spotted Hawkmoth excellent account and images of larvae and adults, including non-pink form "decolora" (Bill Oehlke, - photo of one of the varible larval forms
common name reference [Sweetpotato Hornworm; larva], plus foodplant, links to images, distribution map (Markku Savela, Finland)
Moths of Southeastern Arizona links to pinned adult and live larva images (Bruce Walsh, Arizona)
pinned adult image plus date and foodplants (Dale Clark, Texas)
live adult images and date (Larry Line, Maryland)
Works Cited
1.Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America
Charles V. Covell, Jr. 2005.
2.The Moths of America North of Mexico Fascicle 21 Sphingidae
Ronald W. Hodges. 1971. The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation.
3.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
4.The Moth Book
W.J. Holland. 1968. Dover.