Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Ello sphinx
Erinnyis ello (Linnaeus, 1758)


Family: Sphingidae
Subfamily: Macroglossinae
Identification: Abdomen has very distinct gray and black bands. Upperside of female forewing is pale gray with a few dark dots near the outer margin. Upperside of male forewing is dark gray and brown with a black band running from the base to the tip. In both sexes, the hindwing upperside is orange with a wide black border.
Wing Span: 2 15/16 - 3 5/16 inches (7.5 - 8.5 cm).
Life History: Adults begin feeding at dark. Fully-grown caterpillars spin cocoons on the soil surface.
Flight: . Several flights throughout the year in Florida and South Texas. Strays north July-October.
Caterpillar Hosts: Papaya (Carica papaya) in the Caricaceae family; various plants in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) including poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima); guava (Psidium species) in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae); also saffron plum (Bumelia angustifolia) in the Sapotaceae.
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers including bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis).
Habitat: Tropical and subtropical lowlands and foothills.
Range: Resident in Argentina north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to south Florida, Texas, Arizona, southern California, and southern Nevada. Strays northward.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: Ello sphinx caterpillars can be pests of poinsettias.
Comments: NULL

Pollinator Week was June 20-26, 2022!

Butterflies and moths are accidental pollinators of many flowering plants. While most species do not have special structures to carry pollen, they do brush against pollen and transfer it to other flowers.

Did you know? The Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) flies close to the ground and uses its short proboscis to probe flowers of wild strawberry, white sweet clover, and other low-lying plants.