Common in the American South, the Catalpa Sphinx Moth is a large brown beauty that prefers its namesake tree over others.
A catalpa tree is at home in the southeastern part of the U.S. and may be unfamiliar to those outside that region. The native species of this tree yield large leaves and long pods as fruit. They are often used as ornamental plants and have been planted as such well outside of their natural range, even as far north as Ontario. The Catalpa Sphinx Moth loves and lives for this tree. The brown moth is large with a small black ring on each wing. Dark lines cross the wings, but it may overlooked as it is not as showy as other Sphinx Moths. The larvae of the Catalpa Sphinx are interesting to look at. A matte, black body has a black horn at the rear. Bright yellow sides are speckled with tiny black dots. They eat the leaves of the catalpa tree. In warmer parts of their range, three to five broods can be produced in a year. Adults likely do not eat and typically live within close range of this host plant. Learn to recognize the tree and increase the likelihood of spotting the moth.
Scientific Name: Ceratomia catalpae
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 42mm to 47mm (1.64in to 1.83in)
Colors: brown, tan, black, yellow
Descriptors: black horn, black caterpillar, yellow side, flying, small wing spot
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.