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

Darapsa versicolor (Harris, 1839) - Hydrangea Sphinx



view caption
Taxonomy
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Family: SphingidaeSubfamily: MacroglossinaeTribe: MacroglossiniP3 Number: 890206.00 MONA Number: 7884.00
Comments: This genus of medium sized moths contains three species, all found in North Carolina.
Identification
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: Fore-wings and body are olive green narrowly banded with curved white lines that are occasionally shaded with pale pink or purplish; hindwings are reddish. Darapsa versicolor may be our most beautiful sphinx; a freshly emerged specimen is absolutely gorgeous. Sexes are similar. Larvae are green or brown with small heads; the usual Sphingid pattern of seven oblique pale stripes run through the spiracles and frosted with white spots (Wagner, 2005).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae of all three species of Darapsa are similar and may be best distinguished by their host plants (see Wagner, 2005 for more information).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Potentially occurs statewide but records are extremely scarce and scattered.
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: Probably two broods in the coastal plain with adults on the wing in May and August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: We have one larval record from Merchant's Millpond State Park, where it was observed feeding on Buttonbush. Most of the reported larval host plants are shorline species, occurring along the edges of ponds, lakes, marshes, swamps, and streams, often in somewhat open conditions.
Larval Host Plants: Olighagous or stenophagous, probably feeding mainly on Buttonbush, but also reported from Decodon, Hydrangea and Water-willow.
Observation Methods: Adults come to lights, visit flowers, and have been reported at baits. As the other two species in this genus respond similarly, the appearance at bait is probably true. It may be easy to find caterpillars on Buttonbush.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Montane Shoreline Shrub Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4? [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Records for this species are highly scarce in North Carolina, although neither its habitat nor host plants would appear to be limiting. Although there is some evidence that it is declining over parts of its range (NatureServe, 2015), its status in North Carolina is uncertain. More sampling, using both lights and bait, needs to be done in lakeshore and marsh habitats before its status can be accurately determined.

 Photo Gallery for Darapsa versicolor - Hydrangea Sphinx

Photos: 8

Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-07-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-07-05
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-27
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-06-12
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-06-12
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-06-12
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2020-07-15
Polk Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: FKW, SBW on 2005-08-28
Gates Co.
Comment: Feeding on buttonbush.