Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Apple sphinx
Sphinx gordius Cramer, 1780


Family: Sphingidae
Subfamily: Sphinginae
Identification: Color and markings are highly variable. Fringes on forewing are mostly black with some white, those on the hindwing are mostly white with a few black patches. Forewing ranges from brown with black borders through brownish gray with paler borders to pale gray with no borders. Dashes, submarginal line, and cell spot are usually weak. Hindwing is gray to yellow-gray with a black border and a black median line which ranges from distinct to diffuse.
Wing Span: 2 11/16 - 4 1/4 inches (6.8 - 10.8 cm).
Life History: Caterpillars pupate in burrows in soft soil.
Flight: . One brood; from May-September in most of the range, from February-April in Florida.
Caterpillar Hosts: Apple (Malus), sweetfern (Myrica), Carolina rose (Rosa carolina), blueberry and huckleberry (Vaccinium), white spruce (Picea glauca), American larch (Larix laricina), and alder (Alnus).
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers including dogbane (Apocynum), honeysuckle (Lonicera), lilac (Syringa), evening primrose (Onagraceae), bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis), and phlox (Phlox).
Habitat: Coastal barrens, bogs, and deciduous forests.
Range: Relative abundance varies throughout the range. Southeastern New York and New Jersey south to central Florida; west through southern Illinois, Colorado, and Utah; north through the Rocky Mountains to Manitoba.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
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.