Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFSphingidae Members: 47 NC Records

Paratrea plebeja (Fabricius, 1777) - Plebeian Sphinx



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Family: SphingidaeSubfamily: SphinginaeTribe: SphinginiP3 Number: 890110.00 MONA Number: 7793.00
Comments: A single species genus allied to Manduca.
Species Status: Barcodes indicate that Paratrea plebeja is a single, well-defined species in our area.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948); Hodges (1971); Tuttle (2007)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1948); Wagner (2005); Tuttle (2007)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A moderately small, gray, and streaky sphinx moth. Most similar to Sphinx gordius, with which it overlaps in range and flight periods in North Carolina. Both species possess a well-defined white discal spot but plebeja has a dark apical dash that is missing in gordius, and gordius has a darker thorax. Ceratomia undulosa has a similar pattern but is much larger and has more conspicuous cross lines. Lapara coniferarum and Isoparce cupressi are browner and lack the white discal spot. Sexes are similar.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are green or brown with the normal sphingid pattern of oblique lateral lines but are covered with white granules (see Wagner, 2005 for more details). Pupation occurs underground.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Our records indicate the species is relatively common over the eastern half of North Carolina. Because the foodplant is statewide and the entire range of the species covers the eastern half of the U.S., it should be looked for in the western part of the state as well.
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
Immature 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: May have two flights in North Carolina; more continuous further south (Wagner, 2005).
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Look for this species at the edge of wooded areas where trumpet vine is growing, i.e. powerlines, old roads through hardwoods or mixed pine-hardwood areas, or along agricultural fields bordered by wood lots.
Larval Host Plants: Monophagous or stenophagous. Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) is the main foodplant, although Forbes (1948) also notes that Passionflower and Lilac have been reported (Wagner also mentions Florida Yellow-trumpet, which does not occur in our area). Carolina spider lily is pollinated by this species (Haddock, 1998).
Observation Methods: Adults are frequent flower visitors at dusk but it is not attracted to baits. Comes to 15 watt UV blacklights in small numbers and appears to be less common than would be expected based on the distribution and abundance of its host plant; like other Sphingids, mercury-vapor lights or other stronger sources of UV than standard 15 watt blacklights may be needed to accurately determine its distribution and abundance. Caterpillar surveys are also likely to be productive.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Wet Forests and Successional Fields
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: Although more needs to be learned about its distribution in the state, Paratrea seems to be at least fairly widespread in the eastern half of the state and feeds on a species that is common in disturbed areas; appears to be secure.

 Photo Gallery for Paratrea plebeja - Plebeian Sphinx

33 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-05-31
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-05-31
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-05-27
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2021-04-22
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2021-04-12
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2021-04-12
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2021-04-12
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-09-08
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-06-20
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: L. M. Carlson on 2019-08-08
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-07-29
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-08
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2018-06-14
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2018-06-14
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: F. Williams, S. Williams on 2017-07-11
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2017-05-02
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2014-07-23
Rockingham Co.
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Recorded by: Britta Muiznieks on 2014-05-05
Dare Co.
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Recorded by: Britta Muiznieks on 2014-05-03
Dare Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2013-07-14
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2013-07-07
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: L.Amos on 2013-07-07
Vance Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2013-06-05
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Lori Owenby on 2012-06-20
Catawba Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2012-06-03
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof, E. Corey on 2011-05-25
Beaufort Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof, E. Corey on 2011-05-25
Beaufort Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2010-06-01
Warren Co.
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