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One-eyed Sphinx Moth (Smerinthus cerisyi)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the One-eyed Sphinx Moth

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The One-eyed Sphinx goes by many names, but the singular blue eyespot hidden on the hingwings remains constant.

Updated: 07/07/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Sphinx Moths are a family of enormous moth and almost always attract attention when they come around at night. This particular species is part of a group that has eyespots on the hindwings. Compared to other similar-looking Sphinx Moths, the One-eyed Sphinx has a solitary blue spot with a black pupil in each eyespot. In contrast, the Twin-spotted Sphinx has two blue spots, and the Blinded Sphinx lacks the black pupil.

This dark brown and gray moth may have violet tones. Pale veins run down the wings and are especially visible as they cross the dark brown band in that crosses the middle of the wings and their bottom edges. White lines separate the dark center of the furry thorax from its lighter sides. Multicolored hindwings, when visible, have an inner white edge next to a large black spot that circles a blue eyespot. Bright pink color above the eyespot blends into a pale yellow under the eyespot.

Females lay green oval eggs on the leaves of host trees. Larvae are plump and green with tiny white bumps all over them. They can become more pale or brown as they prepare to pupate for winter. A blue horn extends from the top of the body by the rear. A bold white, or yellow, diagonal line on both sides of the face is repeated by the rear at the blue horn. Short diagonal lines run the length of the sides as does a thin white line near the 'spine'. Caterpillars of the One-eyed Sphinx feed on pear, plum, poplar, basswood, birch, and willow trees. Adults do not eat. Look for them near lights after sunset. They are active from mid-spring through most of summer and prefer areas where host trees grow.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sphingidae
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          Genus: Smerinthus
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            Species: cerisyi

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Smerinthus cerisyi
Other Name(s): Eyed Sphinx, Cerisy's Sphinx, Willow Sphinx, Cerisy's Eyed Hawk Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 62mm to 90mm (2.44" to 3.54")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; gray; black; blue
Descriptors: pink wing; blue eyespot; flying; large; big; dark body

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 62mm (2.4in) and 90mm (3.5in)
Lo: 62mm
Md: 76mm
Hi: 90mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the One-eyed 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 One-eyed Sphinx Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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