Blinded Sphinx Moth – Paonias excaecata

The Blinded Sphinx Moth (Paonias excaecata) is found over most of the United States and part of Canada.

Blinded Sphinx adult moths fly much like a hummingbird. The upper side of their hind wings sport a beautiful bright pink pattern.

Caterpillars are green with a horn at the rear of the caterpillar. Caterpillars cannot sting or bite. The horn is soft.

Host plants are Black Cherry, Willow, Poplar, Oaks, and several other tree species.

The caterpillar works its way under the soil to pupate. In this photo, we brushed off a layer of soil to expose the caterpillar. They take several days to pupate. During those days their legs are drawn tighter into the body. They become still and quiet. To many people, they appear dead.

After approximately three days, the caterpillar pupates into a dark brown pupa. The pupa is the best color to blend in with soil colors. It is well camouflaged. If it is accidentally exposed, it isn’t noticeable.

The adult moth is well camouflaged. Whether it is seen from the underside, topside, on dead leaves or stems, or on tree bark, it blends into the background.

We raised these particular moths, in these photos, on Black Cherry leaves.