Moths of North Carolina
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Paonias Members:
73 NC Records

Paonias astylus (Drury, 1773) - Huckleberry Sphinx


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Family: SphingidaeSubfamily: SmerinthinaeTribe: SmerinthiniP3 Number: 890146.00 MONA Number: 7826.00
Comments: A Holarctic genus of 4 species of which 3 occur in North America and North Carolina. Two are among our most common species.
Species Status: Barcodes indicate a single species in our area.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)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: With narrow forewings that cover only the eyespot on the hindwings when at rest,leaving the outer margin of the hindwing projecting forward, this is clearly a Paonias species. The relatively smooth brown ground color, shaded with light gray or lavender, is distinctive, as is the completely straight outer margin of the forewing. Sexes are similar.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are similar to other Paonias but are often blotched with pink (Forbes, 1948). Pupation occurs underground.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Occurs statewide with the possible exception of the Barrier Islands.
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: Appears to have a two flights in the Mountains and possibly three in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come from a wide variety of heath-containing habitats. These include Wet Pine Flatwoods, Pocosins, and dry-to-xeric Pine-Scrub Oak Sandhills in the Coastal Plain; dry Pine-Oak-Heath habitats in the Piedmont and lower Mountains; and Heath Balds in the High Mountains.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous. Feeds on Blueberries (Vaccinium) and Huckleberries (Gaylussacia) both in the Ericaceae. Larvae have not been found in North Carolina so we do not know which species of blueberries or huckleberries are used in any one area.
Observation Methods: Like other members of the genus adults of this species are attracted to lights but have not been recorded visiting flowers nor coming to baits.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Wet-Dry Heath Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4G5 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Once considered to be quite rare, this species is taken in light traps with regularity each year. Although a specialist on heath-containing habitats, it is not restricted with regard to moisture regime or presence/absence of a canopy cover; several different heaths appear to be used across the state. Although somewhat vulnerable to the effects of habitat fragmentation, this species appears to be fairly secure.

 Photo Gallery for Paonias astylus - Huckleberry Sphinx

Photos: 28

Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan, and Steve Hall on 2022-07-24
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Beth on 2022-06-22
Polk Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-17
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2021-08-04
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2021-07-18
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-07-05
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2020-07-15
Polk Co.
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Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2019-07-24
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Peter Dixon on 2019-04-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-07-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2017-08-14
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Lori Owenby on 2016-06-29
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Lori Owenby on 2016-06-29
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2015-08-21
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2015-08-08
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf, B.Bockhahn on 2014-08-25
Surry Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2014-06-30
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Jason Brown on 2013-07-15
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2012-05-17
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2012-05-17
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2010-09-03
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Taylor Piephoff on 2009-08-03
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: ASH on 2007-08-13
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: J. Anderson, D. Tenney on 2007-08-03
Gaston Co.
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Recorded by: FKW, Sam Wells on 2006-08-04
Gates Co.
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