Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

See Moth submissions from National Moth Week 2023

Photos of insects and people from the 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico, July 20-24

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Photos of insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Previous events


Species Ceratomia undulosa - Waved Sphinx - Hodges#7787

Illinois data point - Ceratomia undulosa Hawkmoth?- what species? - Ceratomia undulosa Ceratomia undulosa Large moth found in kitchen - Ceratomia undulosa Moth - Ceratomia undulosa Large Moth - Ceratomia undulosa Waved Sphinx Moth - Ceratomia undulosa 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)
Superfamily Bombycoidea (Silkworm, Sphinx, and Royal Moths)
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)
Orig. Comb: Daremma undulosa Walker 1856
* phylogenetic sequence # 226700
Explanation of Names
undulosa - Latin for 'a wave' ("unda"); refers to the wavy lines on the adult's forewing
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]
e. N. Amer. to TX and AB - Map (MPG)
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.
Mated pair; larva; larva; larva; pre-pupal larva; adult
very common; one of our most common sphinx moths
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)
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.