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Small-eyed Sphinx Moth (Paonias myops)


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



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The Small-eyed Sphinx is a large moth with vivid blue eyespots on its yellow and black hindwings.



Updated: 07/15/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A member of the Hawk Moth family, the size of this species can be startling. Females can average 7.5 cm, or 3 inches, though males are usually smaller. The actual eyes of this brown moth are normal in size. The eyespots on its wings are smaller in comparison to other Sphinx moths. These small black and blue eyespots are on each hindwing and they are visible when the wings are opened flat. An orange stripe on its thorax and back looks like a thin mohawk. Waves of dark purple, light purple, and brown cross the forewings. Inner and outer wing tips have orange patches. Antennae are white. Its preferred habitats include forests and fields.

The green caterpillar has a spiny horn on one end. It also has thin yellow angled lines on the sides of its body. It feeds on a variety of trees and vines: cherry, hawthorn, serviceberry, and grape. They emerge as moths late-spring and summer, flying into lights like most moths do. In warmer states, they may be active year-round.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sphingidae
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          Genus: Paonias
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            Species: myops
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Paonias myops
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 45mm to 75mm (1.77" to 2.95")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; yellow; black; orange; blue; white
Descriptors: flying, hairy, eyespots
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 45mm and 75mm
Lo: 45mm
Md: 60mm
Hi: 75mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Small-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 Small-eyed Sphinx Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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