Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFSphingidae Members: 3 NC Records

Sphinx drupiferarum J.E. Smith, 1797 - Wild Cherry Sphinx


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Family: SphingidaeSubfamily: SphinginaeTribe: SphinginiP3 Number: 890123.00 MONA Number: 7812.00
Comments: This large genus of some 27 species ranges from England to Japan and down through the Americas. There are approximately 14 resident species in North America and at least 5 in North Carolina. Two very different larval types occur in the genus and it is likely that Sphinx is composed of more than one genus.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: BugGuide, MPG, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948); Hodges (1971); Tuttle (2007)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1948); Wagner (2005); Tuttle (2007)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A large Sphinx Moth with forewings with a dark gray central shade running from the base to the apex, bounded by pale brownish gray on the costa and outer margin. This species looks like a very large, dark S. gordius but the forewing areas that are light in S. gordius are dark in S. drupiferarum and vice-versa. Sexes are similar.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are similar to those of other members of this genus with a green body and seven white oblique stripes along its sides (see Forbes, 1948, and Wagner, 2005 for details).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Known only from historic records in the eastern Piedmont and Sandhills.
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: Not enough information in the state to determine a pattern. Should be looked for from May to July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This is a woodland species which may also occur in old fields.
Larval Host Plants: Like S. gordius, larvae are recorded primarily from Rosaceous plants, namely apple, cherry and serviceberry. There is also a report from hackberry which seems unusual.
Observation Methods: Adults are attracted to lights and to flowers but not to baits.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Rosaceous Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: [W3]
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 [SH]
State Protection: Not currently listed by the Natural Heritage Program but probably should be considered for addition to the Watch List, based on the lack of recent records.
Comments: Any records from the southern end of its range are considered rare but the reasons for this scarcity are unclear -- neither host plants or habitat appear to be restrictive. Records from the eastern Piedmont and Sandhills are very old and there do not appear to be any recent records for Virginia as well.

 Photo Gallery for Sphinx drupiferarum - Wild Cherry Sphinx

Photos: 2

Recorded by: Collector not given on the label but probably C.S. Brimley on 1908-05-13
Wake Co.
Comment: Specimen in the NCSU Insect Museum. Wingspan = 10.8 cm; forewing length = 5.3 cm
Recorded by: Collector not given on the label but probably C.S. Brimley on 1905-05-09
Wake Co.
Comment: Specimen in the NCSU Insect Museum. Wingspan = 9.2 cm; forewing length = 4.4 cm