At home in hot, humid weather, the Mournful Sphinx is typically found in the coastal southern states and throughout Mexico. Occasionally, some will stray farther north in the summer. This huge moth is dark brown and has scalloped wing bottoms. The majority of the lower forewing is much darker than the rest of the wing and body. A thin line bends across the center of the moth, and proves a helpful feature for narrowing down its identity. A pale spot sits just below this line on each wing. The tip of the abdomen tapers to a point, but it may also flare out like the tail of an airplane. It is a large moth, so it is conspicuous, especially outside of its forest habitat.
The plump, green caterpillar feeds on grape plants. The coloring changes as the moth matures and mottled black spreads over the body like mildew. A long horn or spine sticks up from the rear end. Look for adults and caterpillars at the edges of forests and near food plants. Adults fly both day and night allowing for more opportunities to observe it.
General Characteristics Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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.
Territorial Map U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Prince Edward Is.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used for sensing.
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.