blinded sphinx

(Paonias excaecata)

               
Hodges #

7824

blinded sphinx

 

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Flight/Season

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

    Photo by Luciearl
Habitat

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

Size

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

Wingspan: 2316 to 3 (55 to 95 mm)

 
 
Identification

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.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

Leaves of a wide variety of deciduous trees and shrubs

 
Adult Food

Adults do not feed.

 
Life Cycle

Pupae overwinter

 
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.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

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

 
Comments

 

 
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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