Other Common Names
Laurel Sphinx - this species was long known as the Laurel Sphinx because the specific epithet was mistakenly thought to refer to the host genus Kalmia (Laurel).
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Sphinx kalmiae J.E. Smith, 1797
Explanation of Names
Named in honor of botanist Pehr (Peter) Kalm
(1716 – 1779), one of the most important apostles of Carl Linnaeus.
Wingspan 7.5-10.3 cm. (2)
Larva to 60 mm (Beutenmüller, 1896).
Pupa 42 mm (Beutenmüller, 1896).
Adult - forewing of moth has dark margin, bold white line.
Larva - blue-green or yellow-green with seven diagonal lines that are white edged with black above and usually yellow below. Black stripe on the outer part of head inwardly edged in yellow-green. Spiracles orange, horn blue with tiny black spines. Midabdominal prolegs have yellow band above black crescents at bottom of leg. Beutenmüller describes the egg and all instars, see Print References. (1)
Eastern North America:
Woodlands, forests, yards and nurseries from Manitoba to Newfoundland south to Northern Florida and Lousiana, becoming uncommon southward.
Often found under ornamental lilac plants.
May-August; two generations southward with mature caterpillars June forward. (1)
Ash, fringe-tree, lilac, privet, and plants in the olive family (Oleaceae). (1)
Life cycle photos:
1.egg 2.early instar larva 3.larva 4.larva 5.pupa 6.adult
Sphinx franckii - Franck's Sphinx.
Beutenmüller, Wm. 1896. Transformations of some North American hawk-moths. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 8: 293-294 (PDF
Covell Jr., C.V. 1984. A Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Company. p.35, pl.4.6 (3)
Himmelman, J. 2002. Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard. Down East Books. plate A-4 (4)
Wagner, D.L. 2005. Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press. (1)