Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFSphingidae Members: 37 NC Records

Ceratomia amyntor (Geyer, 1835) - Elm Sphinx


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Family: SphingidaeSubfamily: SphinginaeTribe: SphinginiP3 Number: 890102.00 MONA Number: 7786.00
Comments: Six species of this genus occur in the US with a few more in the Neotropics. The genus appears to be an assemblage of several unrecognized genera and our three species eventually will probably all be placed in separate genera. C. amyntor is the largest species.
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: Large, brown and with a white reniform spot and dark streaks, this is the most distinct and least common species in this genus. Sexes are similar.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are very distinctive, colored green or brown with horns on the thorax and covered with white-tipped granules that also run along the pale lateral lines, tail, and mid-dorsal plates (Wagner, 2005). Pupation occurs underground.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most of our records come from the Mountains, but there are at least a few records as far east as Wake County.
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: Possibly just one generation in the Mountains; not enough data from the rest of the state to determine a pattern.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from rich cove forests or basic mesic forests, habitats favored by elms and basswoods. Should be looked for along rich riparian habitats in the Piedmont and along brownwater river floodplains in the Coastal Plain.
Larval Host Plants: Elms appear to be the favored foodplant but there are records from basswood and birch as well. Look for larvae on the undersides of leaves on plants growing along forest edges. Accurate identification of larval foodplants based on field searches are needed.
Observation Methods: Most individuals we have seen responded to mercury vapor or large ultraviolet spotlights. Searching for larvae is tedious, particularly with larger trees, but may be productive (see Wagner, 2005 for advice with finding this species).
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Dry Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Like many sphingids, records are few, probably because adults rarely come to smaller lights. Dutch elm disease has probably affected its distribution somewhat, but otherwise habitat and host plants do not appear to be restrictive.

 Photo Gallery for Ceratomia amyntor - Elm Sphinx

Photos: 25

Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-04
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-16
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-16
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-16
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-16
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-14
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-14
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2018-07-19
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Alicia Ballard on 2018-07-04
Caswell Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-06-16
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2016-05-12
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman by way of Amber Hancock on 2016-04-07
Robeson Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman by way of Amber Hancock on 2016-04-07
Robeson Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, S. Hall on 2015-07-22
Stanly Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, L. Amos on 2015-05-12
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2013-08-21
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2013-07-31
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf, B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger on 2013-07-24
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2013-05-20
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2010-08-26
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Taylor Piephoff on 2010-06-13
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2009-07-01
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 0000-00-00
Burke Co.
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