blinded sphinx

(Paonias excaecata)

blinded sphinx
Photo by Luciearl
  Hodges #

7824

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Blinded sphinx is a large to very large sphinx moth. It occurs across the United States and southern Canada. It is common in Minnesota. Adults are found from mid-June through mid-July in open deciduous forests and woodlands, woodland edges and clearings, and shrubby areas. Larva feed on a wide variety of deciduous trees and shrubs.

The adult is 1 to 2 (35 to 50 mm) long and has a wingspan of 2316 to 3 (55 to 95 mm). The body is heavy, long, and tapered.

The antennae are thread-like, thickened, and somewhat spindle-shaped at the tip. The mouthparts are reduced. Adults do not feed.

The forewings are long and narrow with several lines and several shades of brown. The leading (costal) margin is convex near the wingtip, and the inner margin is concave near the end, giving the wing a curved appearance. The outer margin is strongly scalloped. The fringe is white. The median area is dark brown and tinted violet. The subterminal area is dark and sometimes tinted greenish. There is a thick black bar in the inner median area that connects to the antemedial (AM) line. The discal spot is a black dot. The hindwing is pink and has a large blue eyespot ringed with black. The eyespot does not have a small black spot (pupil) in the middle. This is the feature that gives the moth its common name.

The larva (caterpillar) is up to 3 (7.5 cm) long. It is usually bright green, sometimes yellowish-green or bluish-green. The head, thorax, and abdomen are moderately covered with prominent, minute, white bumps. The head is broadly triangular, flattened, and framed with a thin pale line. A long, straight, horn extends at a 45° angle from the eighth abdominal segment. The horn is green with no blue. There is a pale subdorsal stripe on the thorax, and a bold whitish diagonal line that extends from the horn to just above the leg-like structure (proleg) on the sixth abdominal segment. Abdominal segments 1 through 6 each have a lateral, yellowish, diagonal line and small black circle surrounding the white respiratory opening (spiracle). Sometimes there is a wine-red spot on each abdominal segment in the subdorsal area and in the spiracular and/or subspiracular area. Mature caterpillars can be found from from May through November.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: 1 to 2 (35 to 50 mm)

Wingspan: 2316 to 3 (55 to 95 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Deciduous forests and woodlands, woodland edges and clearings, and shrubby areas

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One generation per year in Minnesota: Mid-June through mid-July

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active at night and are attracted to light. When perched, the wings are held elevated, slightly away from the body, and parallel to the resting surface.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Pupae overwinter

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Leaves of a wide variety of deciduous trees and shrubs

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Adults do not feed.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 71, 72, 75, 82, 83.

 
  9/30/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Bombycoidea (hawk-moths)  
 

Family

Sphingidae (hawk moths, sphinx moths, and hornworms)  
 

Subfamily

Sphinginae (small-eyed sphinx moth)  
 

Tribe

Smerinthini  
 

Genus

Paonias  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Paonias excaecatus

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

blind-eyed sphinx

blinded sphinx (larva)

blinded sphinx moth (adult)

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.

 

Proleg

A fleshy structure on the abdomen of some insect larvae that functions as a leg, but lacks the five segments of a true insect leg.

 

Spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Luciearl
       

Interesting how it would look like a bat to the fence wire.

  blinded sphinx    
       
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Other Videos
 
  Blinded Sphinx (Paonias excaecata) Lateral Close-up
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Jul 13, 2013

A lateral close-up look at the Blinded Sphinx Moth (Paonias excaecata). Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (12 July 2013).

   
       
  Blind-eyed Sphinx Moth (Sphingidae: Paonias excaecata) on Screen
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Jun 16, 2011

Photographed at Fisher, Minnesota (16 June 2011).

   
       
  blinded sphinx moth | paonias excaecata
The Mothologist
 
   
 
About

Jul 28, 2019

   
       
  Amazing Moth that Looks Like Brown Leaf - Paonias excaecata
Tony Lee Glenn
 
   
 
About

Sep 11, 2014

Don't know if I've identified this moth correctly. Is it Paonias excaecata? I had entomology in college - but it's been a long long time ago. Just thought this one was pretty extraordinary! Is it the moth on this web page?: https://bugguide.net/node/view/61053/bgimage

   
       

 

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Luciearl
7/16/2020

Location: Cass County

Interesting how it would look like a bat to the fence wire.

blinded sphinx


 
         
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Created: 9/30/2020

Last Updated:

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