Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Happy Pollinator Week: June 21-27, 2021! Butterflies and moths are pollinators of many flowering plants.

Did you know? The Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) hovers in flight and uses its long tongue to sip nectar from flowers.

Modest sphinx
Pachysphinx modesta (Harris, 1839)


Family: Sphingidae
Subfamily: Sphinginae
Identification: Upperside of forewing is gray with the basal third lighter; sometimes the outer third also is light, leaving just the median band dark. Upperside of hindwing is gray with a crimson patch and an inward-pointing blue-black triangle near the outer margin.
Wing Span: 3 - 4 11/16 inches (7.6 - 12 cm).
Life History: Females lay eggs on leaves of the hosts, and the eggs hatch in about 9 days. Fully-grown caterpillars pupate and overwinter in shallow burrows in the ground.
Flight: . One brood in the north from June-July, two broods in the south from May-September.
Caterpillar Hosts: Poplar, aspen, and cottonwood (Populus) and willow (Salix).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Riparian areas and moist mountainsides.
Range: Maine south to north Florida; west to Washington, Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. Also Baja California Norte.
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: None reported.
Comments: NULL