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Gaudy Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha labruscae)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Gaudy Sphinx Moth

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Image Credit: Bunny in FL
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Image Credit: Adeen W., taken in southern FL
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Image Credit: Adeen W., taken in southern FL
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A striking green moth blends in with the tree canopy, and its brown snake-like caterpillar scares off would-be predators.

Updated: 11/02/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Gaudy Sphinx Moth is found truly an American moth because its range includes all three Americas: North, Central, and South America. It is found as far south as parts of Argentina. In North America, it rarely ventures north of the Gulf coast states, Arizona, and New Mexico. The green striking green moth has little pattern on it, but when it spreads its wings open, a riot of color on the hindwings mesmerizes. The multicolored eyespots are blue, white, red, and yellow.

The adult is a spectacle, and the larva is astonishing. The brown caterpillar has large eyespots on the side of the head and a single eyespot by the rear end. Yellow bands and diagonal patterning on the body are reminiscent of certain types of snakes. As it matures, the head actually bulges out the sides, creating the same shape as a snake's head. A black spine grows out of the eyespot at the rear. Though it seems like a short snake, this caterpillar's mimicry can befuddle people as well as predators. This advantageous appearance increases the caterpillar?s chance of survival because snakes are generally left alone, especially in tropical habitats. Look for them on the ground or on trees. Look for adults in foliage where their coloring is best suited for concealment.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sphingidae
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          Genus: Eumorpha
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            Species: labruscae
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Eumorpha labruscae
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 80mm to 110mm (3.14" to 4.33")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green; blue; red; yellow; white; brown; tan
Descriptors: tropical; green; colorful; eyespot hindwing; snake caterpillar; brown; yellow bands; snake-like head; bulging eyes; eyespot on tail; thorn; spine

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 80mm (3.1in) and 110mm (4.3in)
Lo: 80mm
Md: 95mm
Hi: 110mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Gaudy Sphinx Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Gaudy Sphinx Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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