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Laurel Sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Laurel Sphinx.

 Updated: 7/12/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The Laurel Sphinx is streamlined and sleek, always impressing with its wide wingspan and aerodynamic styling.



Laurel Sphinx Moths are quite big, easily filling up a gentle, open hand. The brown moth has black and brown stripes on its furry thorax. The abdomen is brown with a black line along the 'spine'. The sides have short bands of black and white from head to rear. The wings of the Laurel Sphinx come to a point, and its resting position takes the shape of an arrowhead. Light brown lines streak down the length of the forewings, creating the illusion of bones in the wings. Shorter hindwings are black and white. Antennae are white. They are widespread throughout the eastern part of the continent and are found in woodlands as well as backyards, gardens, and plant nurseries.

The caterpillar is fleshy and green. The green head has a black and white striped diagonal line running down both sides of its face. The true legs (by the head) are also black and white. Prolegs (by the rear) are black and yellow. A vivid diagonal line on each segment is tri-colored: black-white-yellow. The rear end has a spiky blue horn covered in tiny black bumps. They tend to feed on foliage from ash trees, lilac shrubs, privet hedges, and olive and fringe trees. There are some reports that they are also fond of mountain laurel, but their name is derived from a Finnish botantist, Pehr Kalm, whose last name is similar to that of the laurel plant family's Latin name (Kalmia). Adults drink from Japanese honeysuckle and common soapwort blossoms. Two broods can be produced each year.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sphingidae
          Genus: Sphinx
            Species: kalmiae
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Sphinx kalmiae
Other Name(s): Fawn Sphinx
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 75mm to 103mm (2.93in to 4.02in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, black, white
Descriptors: streamlined, pointy wings, black-and-white-body, black spine, line, large, flying
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
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
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.