Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFSphingidae Members:
Manduca Members:
18 NC Records

Manduca quinquemaculatus (Haworth, 1803) - Five-spotted Hawk Moth

view caption
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Family: SphingidaeSubfamily: SphinginaeTribe: SphinginiP3 Number: 890091.00 MONA Number: 7776.00
Comments: A large Neotropical genus (63 species) of which 4 occur in North Carolina. This is our second most common of 4 species.
Species Status: Barcodes indicate that Manduca quinquemaculatus is a single, well-defined species in our area.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948); Hodges (1971); Tuttle (2007)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1948); Wagner (2005); Tuttle (2007)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A large, grayish-brown sphinx moth; sexes similar. Less common than M. sexta with which it is frequently confused. It is grayer with a crisp, distinct pattern whereas the pattern in M. sexta is browner and smudged. Note the parallel median lines with gray filling in the hindwing. These lines are largely fused into a single broad line in M. sexta.
Wingspan: 9 - 13.5 cm (Covell, 1984)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are green or brown and have seven white lateral stripes similar to the larvae of M. sexta. Distinguishable from sexta by its possession of a series of broken pale stripes below the spiracles, forming a series of v-shaped marks together with the lateral stripes (Forbes, 1948).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs statewide
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: One principal brood exists over much of the East (Wagner, 2005)
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Found throughout the state in open agricultural lands.
Larval Host Plants: Like M. sexta this species prefers Solanaceous species, with caterpillars frequently found on tobacco, tomato and potato plants.
Observation Methods: Adults visit flowers at night, especially those with long corollas. They readily come to strong lights, such as mercury-vapor, but only in small numbers to 15 watt UV lights. They do not to come to baits.
See also Habitat Account for General Fields, Gardens, and Ruderal Habitats
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Rarely taken in numbers yet one's tomato plants indicate they are not uncommon. Like many sphingids found in urban settings, they are not attracted to weak lighting and are able to co-exist in our cities. Of no conservation concern in North Carolina

 Photo Gallery for Manduca quinquemaculatus - Five-spotted Hawk Moth

Photos: 6

Recorded by: Danielle Wieberg on 2021-06-04
Iredell Co.
Recorded by: Danielle Wieberg on 2021-06-04
Iredell Co.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-20
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-06-30
Warren Co.
Recorded by: Doug Blatny, Jackie Nelson on 2010-08-21
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2010-07-10
Warren Co.