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Ledges State Park Sphinx - Pachysphinx modesta

Ledges State Park Sphinx - Pachysphinx modesta
Ledges State Park, Boone County, Iowa, USA
July 31, 2011
I believe this is a Waved Sphinx. About ten of us took its picture!


Moved from Sphinx Moths.

Moved from Waved Sphinx.

I don't think this is undulosa
Seems to be more like Pachysphinx modesta to me based on the light color and the highly reduced anal horn. My main concern with it being P. modesta is the host plant (doesn't appear to be any of the known foodplants; cottonwood, poplar, or willow).

Low herbaceous plant
Let's move back to family for now. Certainly it was on a low herbaceous plant and not a tree. I didn't see it feed but I suppose the chances are pretty small it had been dislodged from its host plant.

There aren't too many sphingids that look like this (Tribe Smerinthini) that feed on low herbaceous plants, the majority (if not all in this tribe) are tree feeders. I would assume this came from a different host, although I could never be certain.

Interesting! Well, then, maybe it had fallen from its tree or something. A good number of us photographed it, kneeling or sitting on the ground. The caterpillar was about a foot off the ground on small non-woody plant.