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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Dolba hyloeus - Pawpaw Sphinx - Hodges#7784

brown phase Pawpaw Sphinx - Dolba hyloeus Pawpaw Sphinx - Dolba hyloeus Pawpaw Sphinx - Dolba hyloeus?? - Dolba hyloeus Unknown Caterpillar - Dolba hyloeus Sphinx caterpillar on Ilex verticillata - Dolba hyloeus Sphinx Caterpillar sp. - Dolba hyloeus Dolba hyloeus Dolba hyloeus
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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 Dolba
Species hyloeus (Pawpaw Sphinx - Hodges#7784)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1773 by Dru Drury as Sphinx hyloeus
Sometimes spelled hylaeus
Dolba hyloeus
Explanation of Names
Probably from Greek hylaios (υλαιος)- "of the woods, wild, savage", though there is also a centaur by that name in Greek mythology
Wingspan 50 -68 mm
Looks like a miniature Rustic Sphinx--dark brown to black with white dusting. Rustic Sphinx has orange spots on abdomen, Pawpaw has white spots. These spots are visible only when the wings are spread. Forewing patterns are very similar, but there are subtle differences--see photos and Internet references. Caterpillar is pale/bright green, six white stripes on abdomen--no bands towards head. Spiracles small, black, with white outer ring.
Eastern North America, more common in south
Typically bottomland forests
June-September (two broods in south, one in north)
Larvae feed on various trees and shrubs: Hollies--Ilex, Blueberries--Vaccinium, Pawpaw--Asimina, Sweetfern--Comptonia .
See Also
Print References
Covell, p. 33, plate 5 #1. This reproduction of this species is very dark, and it is hard to see the wing pattern. (1)
Wagner, p. 11 (2)
Internet References
NCSU Entomology collection--25 pinned, including specimens from North Carolina
Illustrations of Natural History, p.45 (pl.26, fig.3)    Drury's original description of the species (illustration here and index with the name here).
Works Cited
1.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
2.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.