The Northern Apple Sphinx is a gray moth with short, thin black lines that run down the wings. The wings are narrow, sleek and pointed. A small white dot in the center of each narrow forewing is usually visible. Short black and white fringe runs along the bottom edges of the wings. This moth resembles the Apple Sphinx, a close relative.
The bright green caterpillar has a green head with black and green lines on it. The body is covered in small white dots and the sides have seven diagonal red and white lines pointing up toward the rear end. At the bottom of each diagonal line is a small, bright red oval. A horn, or pointed ‘tail’, sticks out from the rear end. The caterpillar certainly feeds on apple trees, but it does not limit its host plant to that. Alder, blueberry, meadowsweet, sweet gale, tamarack, and white spruce are also acceptable food sources. With such diverse host plants, the moth can be found in a variety of habitats including forests, bogs, and areas with flowers that can provide nectar to adults.
Scientific Name: Sphinx poecila
Other Name(s): Northern Heath Sphinx, Poecila Sphinx, Variegated Sphinx
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 65mm to 95mm (2.54in to 3.71in)
Colors: gray; black; white; brown
Descriptors: big; large; black head; gray wings; short black slits; pointed wings; flying
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.