Eumorpha achemon - (Drury, 1773)
Achemon Sphinx
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.114475
Element Code: IILEX0X050
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Sphinx Moths
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Sphingidae Eumorpha
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
Concept Reference: Hodges, R.W. et al., eds. 1983. Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico. E.W. Classey Limited and The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation, London. 284 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B83HOD01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Eumorpha achemon
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Dec2014
Global Status Last Changed: 31Jul2012
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: This is still a common hawk moth in much of the western half of the United States and increasing northward, and is still regular, but no longer common, in the mid-Atlantic states. Its status in the Midwest is unclear. This moth has apparently always been quite rare in the Southeast except for Florida. No serious decline is suspected westward and the species can use a variety of habitats.  This species probably was not actually resident in some eastern portions of the range such as Maine and much of the Southeast, although it appears to be established from southern New Jersey to Maryland now and used to be regular in southeastern New England.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4N5 (31Jul2012)
Nation: Canada
National Status: NUB,NUM (29Aug2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNR), Arizona (SNR), Arkansas (SNR), California (SNR), Colorado (S4), Connecticut (SNR), Delaware (SNR), Florida (SNR), Georgia (SNR), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (SNR), Kansas (SNR), Kentucky (S2S3), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNR), Maryland (SNR), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (SNR), Mississippi (SNR), Missouri (SNR), Nebraska (SNR), Nevada (SNR), New Hampshire (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), New York (SNR), North Carolina (SNR), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (SNR), Oregon (SNR), Pennsylvania (SNR), Rhode Island (SNR), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (SNR), Tennessee (SNR), Texas (SNR), Utah (SNR), Vermont (SNR), Virginia (SNR), West Virginia (SNR), Wisconsin (SNR), Wyoming (SNR)
Canada Ontario (S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Records cover a large portion of North America from coast to coast, from southern Canada into northern Mexico, except for Washington and Idaho south through the Great Basin region, but there are few historic records from the Southeast other than Florida.

The BAMONA map shows the species to be widespread in California, reaching southern Oregon, then ranging south of the Great Basin across Arizona to New Mexico. There are many records from central New Mexico north through the foothills of Colorado, continuing barely into Canada and spreading west into Montana, and east to the Atlantic. Records go around the core of the Appalachians with a few old ones in Georgia, the interior Carolinas, and southern New York. Old record are on both sides of the mountains in Pennsylvania, but recent ones all on the east side.  It is seemingly absent in Washington, Idaho, and Montana, most of Oregon and most of Wyoming (Powell and Opler, 2009 and BAMONA map) and the Great Basin. There is substantial uncertainty about the potentially permanent range eastward. Many old, and some recent, northeastern records are based on larvae so the species definitely breeds there. It appears that Eumorpha achemon is fundamentally a common western North American moth that extends eastward, mostly in a narrow band north of the highest parts of the mountains through southernmost Ontario, presumably Ohio, and Pennsylvania to eastern New England and Mid-Atlantic states but apparently not often much farther south. However, if the gap on the BAMONA map for central Pennsylvania is real, east coast populations may be separate from the core western range.  Its current status in the eastern parts of the range and also in the northern prairie states and adjacent Canada is unclear. Since this species is a known Platanthera orchid pollinator, whether it is a vagrant form the south or a resident species could have potential conservation implications if this moth is an important pollinator of orchids of conservation concern. It is also unclear what the status is in Florida, but the paucity of records from extreme eastern Texas to the Carolina piedmont and on the coast between Florida and Maryland-New Jersey suggest Florida populations could be disjunct. Wagner (2012) and Les Ferge (email to Dale Schweitzer, 13 August 2012) consider this moth to be an irregular migrant in Connecticut and southern Wisconsin respectively. However, BAMONA maps a lot of records in the Dakotas and Minnesota.  E. achemon was found quite regularly in the Northeast less than 100 years ago and still seems to occur regularly in southern New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania and Maryland. While Holland (1903) and Tuttle (2007) among others indicate Eumorpha achemon to be found throughout the East, records are too few to conclude that it was ever found regularly in the Southeast, except in Florida. Steve Hall, Bo Sullivan, and Darryl Willis (all pers. com., 2012) do not get this moth at all in North Carolina, making the three very recent coastal Carolinas records (all single adults) puzzling. The Furman University moth website (http://facweb.furman.edu/~snyderjohn/sc-moths/species-report.php) has five records for South Carolina from 1955, 1956, 1958, 1982 and 2009. Remarkably none are from the intensely collected (1960s-1970s) McClellanville area. Albu and Metzler (2004) report none from southern West Virginia, nor have recent efforts in Virginia (Steury et al., 2007, Ludwig 2000-2004) found any. Some of these efforts did produce E. pandorus. Covell (1999) found records, mostly singletons, for only five counties in Kentucky. It has not turned up in recent inventory in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (list from David Wagner). Brou and Brou (1997) report only three E. achemon among over 1300 Eumorpha records, 638 of them E. pandorus, in 26 years of intensive sampling in Louisiana, and Bordelon and Knudson (1999) do not report this species from the adjacent Big Thicket region of Texas. BAMONA maps no E. achemon records in Virginia.  Eumorpha achemon is still very generally distributed in the western part of the range east to about north central Texas, Kansas, and Minnesota. It has been rarely encountered recently in the Corn Belt or eastward except in a limited part of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, although there are a few very recent records from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Long Island. Its historic status in the eastern U.S., notably the scarcity in the Southeast, is remarkably similar to that of Manduca quinquemaculata. Possibly both are reinforced eastward by immigrants from the west or southwest across the northern states and Ontario. It is very possible this moth is not now, and perhaps never has been, resident in the Southeast except in Florida.

Area of Occupancy: 501 to >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Very difficult to define a population or meaningful occurrence. Also difficult to determine which, if any, recent records eastward indicate actual populations. Apparently widespread and found wherever grape vines or other Vitaceae are available in the west.

Population Size Comments: Unknown.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Percent Area with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown percentage of area with excellent or good viability or ecological integrity Viability/Integrity Comments: Unknown eastward, probably many westward.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Unthreatened westward, causes of eastern decline unknown.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: The BAMONA map has many old and very few recent records in the Corn Belt, for example only one of 24 records mapped for Illinois and three of 38 for Missouri are shown as recent. A decline there seems plausible or even to be expected from some of the same factors to which the recent decline of the monarch is attributed (see review by Butler, 2014). Farther east Wagner (2012) reports the species has declined recently in Connecticut and BAMONA records support that.  Since about 2005, available records suggest the species has become very rare in New England, New York, and stabilized at reduced abundance in the Middle Atlantic region, with little change in its core western range. It is increasing in the north central part of the range. Such a large majority of BAMONA records from Wyoming, eastern Montana, the Dakotas, and Minnesota and into Manitoba and Saskatchewan are from 2011 to 2014 as to leave little doubt the species has increased in the current decade or slightly more (see Tuttle, 2007).  MPG shows none for the either province or the Dakotas and only one each in Montana and Minnesota.  That records continued in 2014 indicates populations survived through a very cold ?polar vortex? winter, but several of these BAMONA records are in mid to late September suggests the species is not yet well adapted to the local climate.  For now increases and decline probably roughly cancel each other out.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Long-term Trend Comments: Whatever its actual status was in the east it appears to have declined very substantially with only one recent record from New England and one on Long Island.  Records are now concentrated in southeastern Pennsylvania, adjacent Maryland and New Jersey where it is uncommon and has declined. Decline is especially obvious compared to E. pandorus, which was comparable (Smith, 1910, Tietz, 1952) or even slightly less frequent historically (e.g. Jones, 1928-1932, Jones and Kimball, 1943).  On the western edge of this region, Steve Johnson (email of 2012-04-09 to Dale Schweitzer) found 15 E. achemon from early June to mid-September and 51 E. pandorus from mid-June to late August at bright building lights in Northumberland and Dauphin Counties, in central Pennsylvania from 1993 to 2003. Subsequently he has not been checking those lights often, but using standard mercury vapor and blacklight collecting set-ups, and while checking flowers at night (Jones? preferred method), he still sees E. pandorus frequently, but no more E. achemon.  It is questionable whether E. achemon is even regularly occurring the interior Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi but no recent ones, although, unlike in the Northeast, it is possible it never was.  BAMONA has 15 old records in those five southern states, no recent ones.  Notably Darryl Willis who has collected a lot in Cabarrus County has never seen it, no has J.B Sullivan statewide since the 1970s.  Tuttle (2007) points out its rarity in the Southeast as well.  The South Carolina Moths Searchable Checklist website adds one more old one and a 2012 record from the fall line region in South Carolina.  In this context three 2009-2014 records mapped by BAMONA on the immediate Carolina coast seem odd because there are not historic records there, or any at all in Virginia.  That includes none from The Wedge Plantation in coastal South Carolina, one of the most thoroughly sampled places in North America.  Over 90% of BAMONA website for Missouri and Illinois are old.  Whether the numerous recent records form Minnesota, the Dakotas, Montana, and adjacent Canada indicate a long term increase there remains to be seen, but such seems likely.  Otherwise there seems to be little change in the core range from Kansas to California.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: As with other Vitaceae specialists information of the suitability of porcelain berry as a foodplant southward, or possibly as a toxic decoy if females oviposit on it but larvae cannot survive on it, it would be useful.  Also whether vineyards are habitats of toxic sinks (dues to pesticides) for the larvae is unknown.

Distribution
Help
Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Records cover a large portion of North America from coast to coast, from southern Canada into northern Mexico, except for Washington and Idaho south through the Great Basin region, but there are few historic records from the Southeast other than Florida.

The BAMONA map shows the species to be widespread in California, reaching southern Oregon, then ranging south of the Great Basin across Arizona to New Mexico. There are many records from central New Mexico north through the foothills of Colorado, continuing barely into Canada and spreading west into Montana, and east to the Atlantic. Records go around the core of the Appalachians with a few old ones in Georgia, the interior Carolinas, and southern New York. Old record are on both sides of the mountains in Pennsylvania, but recent ones all on the east side.  It is seemingly absent in Washington, Idaho, and Montana, most of Oregon and most of Wyoming (Powell and Opler, 2009 and BAMONA map) and the Great Basin. There is substantial uncertainty about the potentially permanent range eastward. Many old, and some recent, northeastern records are based on larvae so the species definitely breeds there. It appears that Eumorpha achemon is fundamentally a common western North American moth that extends eastward, mostly in a narrow band north of the highest parts of the mountains through southernmost Ontario, presumably Ohio, and Pennsylvania to eastern New England and Mid-Atlantic states but apparently not often much farther south. However, if the gap on the BAMONA map for central Pennsylvania is real, east coast populations may be separate from the core western range.  Its current status in the eastern parts of the range and also in the northern prairie states and adjacent Canada is unclear. Since this species is a known Platanthera orchid pollinator, whether it is a vagrant form the south or a resident species could have potential conservation implications if this moth is an important pollinator of orchids of conservation concern. It is also unclear what the status is in Florida, but the paucity of records from extreme eastern Texas to the Carolina piedmont and on the coast between Florida and Maryland-New Jersey suggest Florida populations could be disjunct. Wagner (2012) and Les Ferge (email to Dale Schweitzer, 13 August 2012) consider this moth to be an irregular migrant in Connecticut and southern Wisconsin respectively. However, BAMONA maps a lot of records in the Dakotas and Minnesota.  E. achemon was found quite regularly in the Northeast less than 100 years ago and still seems to occur regularly in southern New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania and Maryland. While Holland (1903) and Tuttle (2007) among others indicate Eumorpha achemon to be found throughout the East, records are too few to conclude that it was ever found regularly in the Southeast, except in Florida. Steve Hall, Bo Sullivan, and Darryl Willis (all pers. com., 2012) do not get this moth at all in North Carolina, making the three very recent coastal Carolinas records (all single adults) puzzling. The Furman University moth website (http://facweb.furman.edu/~snyderjohn/sc-moths/species-report.php) has five records for South Carolina from 1955, 1956, 1958, 1982 and 2009. Remarkably none are from the intensely collected (1960s-1970s) McClellanville area. Albu and Metzler (2004) report none from southern West Virginia, nor have recent efforts in Virginia (Steury et al., 2007, Ludwig 2000-2004) found any. Some of these efforts did produce E. pandorus. Covell (1999) found records, mostly singletons, for only five counties in Kentucky. It has not turned up in recent inventory in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (list from David Wagner). Brou and Brou (1997) report only three E. achemon among over 1300 Eumorpha records, 638 of them E. pandorus, in 26 years of intensive sampling in Louisiana, and Bordelon and Knudson (1999) do not report this species from the adjacent Big Thicket region of Texas. BAMONA maps no E. achemon records in Virginia.  Eumorpha achemon is still very generally distributed in the western part of the range east to about north central Texas, Kansas, and Minnesota. It has been rarely encountered recently in the Corn Belt or eastward except in a limited part of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, although there are a few very recent records from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Long Island. Its historic status in the eastern U.S., notably the scarcity in the Southeast, is remarkably similar to that of Manduca quinquemaculata. Possibly both are reinforced eastward by immigrants from the west or southwest across the northern states and Ontario. It is very possible this moth is not now, and perhaps never has been, resident in the Southeast except in Florida.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY
Canada ON

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
Help
Ecology Comments: A significant unknown in the ecology of this moth is where it is actually resident as opposed to a stray or temporary migrant. For example this moth is one of three documented pollinators of Platanthera praeclara, but it could well be only a stray in most of the range of that rare orchid.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: The extent to which this migrates is unclear. A good guess would be an adult flying a straight course could easily cover 100 kilometers in three to four hours. A few Canadian records are north of suitable habitats, but this does not seem to be an extreme migrant.  Notably it does not suddenly show up in numbers and does not peak late in the season northeastward.  In fact by far most northeastern records are seasonally appropriate, mid June into August in Massachusetts, early June into September in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. Caterpillars have been found almost range-wide, as late as late September in New Jersey. There is no reason to believe pupae deep in the soil could not survive winters as far north as southern New England and it appears to be resident westward in much colder climates.   The few records from Louisiana to interior North Carolina suggest the species may not be resident there, and there are virtually none from the Appalachians.  Southeastern reports are mostly single adults, rarely two in the same year, but three from 1955 to 1958 in northern South Carolina. However, there are far more records from the Great Lakes region and from Maryland to Massachusetts.

Nevertheless eastern records mapped by BAMONA and MPG are very largely consistent with hypothetical northeast trajectories west of the mountains from Texas to southern Ontario and Ohio and east of them from coastal Alabama and Florida to New Jersey (formerly New England) following prevailing summer winds.  Jacksonville and Cape May are only 1137 miles apart which would be at most a 25 hour (3-4 night) trip at cruising speed for a large hawkmoth (DFS. Pers. comm.), and it is unlikely a disperser with the usual summer tail wind would travel that slowly.  There is circumstantial evidence for movements along the Atlantic coast, e.g. records (BAMONA, one of Bill Oehlke's Web Sites, South Carolina Moths Searchable checklist [http://insect.furman.edu/sc-moths/]) of three single adults in 2009-2014 on the immediate Carolina coast and 2008 photos of adults in coastal Alabama, Maryland, and a caterpillar coastal northeastern Massachusetts, apparently the only recent record in New England.  Add to these very regular occurrence in coastal plain New Jersey for the past 100 years (Smith, 1910, BAMONA), several collections on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island in the 1970s when the species was not regular on the mainland (specimens at Yale Peabody Museum), and multiple historic records from the islands off Massachusetts (Jones and Kimball, 1943) with the comment that E. achemon was more frequent than E. pandorus, and the pattern suggests long distance movements of adults along the US East Coast.  On the other hand the species clearly is or was a regular breeder from Massachusetts to Maryland.


 

Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Desert, Forest Edge, Forest/Woodland, Old field, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard
Habitat Comments: This species can show up any place in in much of the West. Powell and Opler (2009) specifically mention that it often occurs in suburban areas. Larvae can occur in any habitat with suitable foodplants which include most native and planted Vitaceae (grapes, creepers, etc.) Planted grape vines are excellent foodplants if the larvae can escape exposure to insecticides. They often occur in vineyards, but not in sufficient numbers to be injurious. Adults visit many kinds of flowers in any habitat and these do not need to be near the larval foodplants. This is one of three known pollinators, all Sphingidae, of Platanthera praeclara.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Larvae feed on various genera of Vitaceae, but probably most often on grape leaves. Adults visit many kinds of flowers from the invasive japanese honeysuckle to the globally rare Platanthera praeclara.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Despite the vast range, the adult activity season is apparently mostly in June to early August almost everywhere, occasionally late May southward, with fewer records into September. For exaample old New England records (Farquhar, 1934) are from late June to early August for E. achemon and in July and August for E. pandorus, suggesting one local mid summer generation for both. September collections of both suggest a partial second brood north to at least New Jersey, but both species might have merely one staggered annual generation. Larvae occur from June to early October. In all parts of the range, most of the year is spent as pupae in the soil. As far as pupae do not remain in diapause for morthan one winter.
Economic Attributes
Help
Economic Comments: Larvae do occur in vineyards and each one eats quite a few leaves (but no fruits), but no reference of them actually doing economically significant damage was found. Densities are much too low and the species does not form local colonies. This could very well be an unappreciated significant pollinator of both wild (besides Platanthera orchids) and cultivated plants, more data are needed.
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
Group Name: Pollinating Hawk Moths

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Conceptually an occurrence would be a location with evidence of presence (or historical presence) that is large enough to have potential for continued presence and/or regular recurrence, that is generally where larvae occur. Minimally based on a specimen or diagnostic photograph of a larva or adult, or for some species even an expert sight record associated with suitable habitat. In practice most collection locations in a region where the species is resident may be considered as indicative of an occurrence nearby. These moths are apparently usually landscape level species, most of which do not form localized populations making occurrence definition difficult at best. Adults commonly move several kilometers to find food and the larger species could very easily move 100 km in a few nights. Even some smaller ones, Aellopos, do so. Thus occurrences for breeding areas should be based on regular presence of larvae, although not necessarily every year. In North America do not track late season occurrences of adults or larvae well north of their permanent range as occurrences, such as larvae of Agrius cingulatus in the fall on sweet potato in New Jersey or Virginia or any tropical species in Canada. Occurrences based on adult reseources probably would not be useful and would often be gardens.
Mapping Guidance: In the few cases where there is an obvious local habitat preference the occurrence boundaries would often be the same as for the associated plant community although an EO might consist of several discrete proximate patches. Similarly if the larval foodplant is strictly confined to a particular mappable habitat these can be mapped as discrete patches several to many of which can be combined as a plausible EO. In most cases though boundaries will be very difficult to define. Mapping individual plants as separate EOs would be unrealistic since it would take many plants to maintain a population. Note that even with MANDUCA BLACKBURNI whose primary native foodplant is now quite scarce, mapping these probably does not fully define the EO because larvae also feed on exotic Solanaceae. In the western USA habitats and thus occurrence boundaries will very often be defined by edaphic features or by plant communities limited by altitude. For example in arid regions FRAXINUS or VITIS feeders will be confined to riparian corridors usually in canyons and these easily mapped features can be used to define the EO.
Separation Barriers: In most cases potential barriers will be large and better treated as unsuitable habitats, but smaller brightly lit urban areas, large bodies of water with on-shore breezes, high peaks (especially those with night temperature below 10 C), or possibly habitats where night time temperatures oftren stay above 30 C; or (especially in Florida) places with frequent extensive mosquito spraying might be considered barriers. Local observations may occasionally suggest features which greatly curtail movement and if these are well under the separation distance in size they may be considered as barriers.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 20 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Where EOs occupy islands in the ocean (e.g. off the coast of New England, USA; Hawaii) separate islands would generally be considered separate EOs if they are more than 1 kilometer from each other or from the mainland.
Separation Justification: These separation distances are arbitrary but seem reasonable considering the flight capabilities of these moths. For example D. Schweitzer has twice estimated SPHINX GORDIUS cruising along sand roads at around 40 kilometers per hour in New Jersey using an automobile speedometer. This is certainly not one of the fastest species of sphinx moths. this one though does recognize habitat boundaries (i.e. rarely enters forests) and some of the others do likewise. There are claims of faster speeds for a few. It is here assumed that most or all of them fly at 20-60 kilometers per hour or faster so all separation distances could be traversed less than half an hour. Larger distances are deemed somewhat imparctical at least if there is some need to define occurrences based on unsuitable intervening habitats. In eastern North America many species occur sparsely in forests, thickets and subrubia where their larvae feed on well distributed but not dominant, sometimes sparse, trees (often FRAXINUS), vines (mostly Vitaceae), shrubs, or even herbs. Adults lay hundreds of eggs usually singly or perhaps two or three on a plant and usually not many in a patch which implies they must cover many kilometers. There is no known documentation of individual movement distances, but some of these species rather commonly stray more than 500 to 1000 kilometers out of their normal ranges and obviously the ancestor(s) of MANDUCA BLACKBURNI colonized HAWAII from the Americas ranking these moths among the most mobile land animals on earth. It is quite unclear in many temperate areas whether related pest MANDUCA can even survive the winters or recolonize annually from hundreds of kilometers to the south. It is not at all unusual to observe or collect adults of many species (e.g some HEMARIS, HYLES, some MANDUCA) several kilometers out of habitat and likely that adults often move several kilometers per day looking for nectar or oviposition sites. Even the short lived non-feeding PACHSPHINX MODESTA and CERATOMIA AMYNTOR have shown up ten kilometers or more out of habitat in southern New Jersey (Schweitzer)--certainly failry sedentary species. At the other extreme a mass migration of the American Hyles lineata was documented widely in Great Britain in 1943.

With adequate search effort suitable habitat would almost always prove to support occupancy or frequent recurrence where it is within a few kilometers of known occupied habitat. However instances will occur where documentation of presence is limited and available proximate habitat vast. Likewise part of an occurrence (but not an entire C rank or better EO) could easily be unoccupied at times, e.g. certain months or years. Some species are very hard to document, such as SPHINX DRUPIFERARUM which is likely to be overlooked by standard collecting lights and does not come to sugar baits and at least in the Northeast generally turns up by accident.

Both distances are arbitrary, the unsuitable habitat distance is especially tentative since it is not at all known for most species if they respond to and tend to avoid habitat changes or simply cruise over large landscapes looking for mates and oviposition sites. On the other hand the separation distance within extensive suitable habitat is clearly conservative given that occurrences are populations of dozens to thousands or more of wide ranging individuals which probably live a couple of weeks and each of which can easily move 20 kilometers in an hour, so there is almost no chance that two collections only 20 kilometers apart in extensive tracts of habitat would really represent two separate occurrences.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: IE is really moot for such often low density landscape level moths that can easily move a kilometer in less than a minute. In the relatively few cases where edaphic or obvious habitat features clearly define the habitat one could reasonably consider any such patches within up to ten kilometers as part of the known EO but since this figure is probably impractical for an IE of all foodplant patches within two kilometers is arbitrarily suggested. Note USFWS designated critical habitat patches for MANDUCA BLACKBURNI up to 15,216 hectares and none under 100 hectares. Obviously functional occurrences for many continental species would be much larger. A conservative suggestion for inferred extent for a landscape level sphinx moth really would be all suitable habitat within a 5 km radius, but that may be impractical and many occurrences are much larger.
Date: 19Jun2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Notes: These Specs were drafted mainly for higlhy mobile species with feeding aduts and relatively sparsely distributed foodplants. They may be inappropriate for species feeding on locally abundant plants such as Ericaceae, aspens, willows, or Myricaceae which may support denser populations that can persist in as little as a few hundred hectares or even less. Some of these are already assigned to other Specs groups but perhaps most SMERINTHINAE should have separate Specs. For a useful general review doubtless as applicable to temperate species as it is to tropical ones see the critical habitat proposal for MANDUCA BLACKBURNI (USFWS, 2002, e.g. p. 40640) and references therein.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 09Dec2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 13Apr2012
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Schweitzer, D.F.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Albu, V. and E. Metzler. 2004. Lepidoptera of North America 5. Contributions to the knowledge of southern West Virginia Lepidoptera. Contributions of the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod diversity, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 82 pp.

  • Bordelon, Charles Jr. and Ed Knudson. 1999. Checklist of Lepidoptera of the Big Thicket National Preserve, Texas. Texas Lepidoptera Survey #2, 45 pages+B8, 15 color plates.

  • Brou, V. A., and C. D. Brou. 1997. Distribution and phenology of Louisiana Sphingidae. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 51(2):156-175.

  • Butler, L. and V. Kondo. 1991. Macrolepidopterous moths collected by blacklight trap at Cooper's Rock State Forest, West Virginia: a baseline study. West Virginia University Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station Bulletin 705:1-25.

  • Butler, L., V. Kondo, and G. Chrislip. 1995c. Canopy arthropods at Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia?s Allegheny Mountain section: I. macrolepidopterous moths collected by blacklight trap during a dimilin impact study. West Virginia University, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Bulletin 712. 19 pp.

  • Covell, C. V., Jr. 1999. The butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) of Kentucky: An annotated checklist. Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Scientific and Technical Series Number 6, Frankfort, Kentucky. 220 pp.

  • Covell, C.V., Jr. 1984. A field guide to the moths of eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. 496 pp.

  • Farquhar, D. W.. 1934. The Lepidoptera of New England. A list of the species, their distribution, period of imaginal activity, and larval food plants; the New England faunal zones; origin of the New England Lepidopterous fauna. Ph.D. Thesis, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

  • Grehan, John R. et al. 1995. Moths and Butterflies of Vermont (Lepidoptera): A Faunal Checklist. Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Vermont and Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, State of Vermont. Miscellaneous Publication 116. Vermont Monitoring Cooperative Bulletin No. 1.

  • Hodges, R. W. 1971. Sphingoidea, Sphingidae. In: The Moths of America North of Mexico: Fascicle 21. Volume 20 of The moths of America north of Mexico, including Greenland. R. B. Dominick, editor. E. W. Classey, LTD. London, England.

  • Hodges, R.W. et al., eds. 1983. Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico. E.W. Classey Limited and The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation, London. 284 pp.

  • Holland, W. J. 1903. The moth book. A guide to the moths of North America. Doubleday, Page & company, New York. 479 pp.

  • Jones, F.M. 1928-1932. Lepidoptera of Delaware, Peninsular Maryland and Virginia. Unpublished manuscript, University of Delaware, Dover, Delaware.

  • Lotts, K. and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2014b. Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA). Bozeman, MT: Big Sky Institute. Online. Available: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/ (Accessed Jan. 2015).

  • Ludwig, J. C. 2000. A survey of macrolepidopteran moths near Vontay, Hanover County, Virginia. Banisteria 15:16-35.

  • Ludwig, J. C. 2001. An update to the survey of macrolepidopteran moths near Vontay, Hanover County, Virginia. Banisteria 17:42-47.

  • Ludwig, J. C. 2002. Second update to the survey of macrolepidopteran moths near Vontay, Hanover County, Virginia. Banisteria 19:17-19.

  • Ludwig, J.C. 2009. An updated list of macrolepidopteran moths collected near Vontay, Hanover County, Virginia 1996-2003. Banisteria 34:38-44.

  • Moore, S. 1955. An Annotated list of the moths of Michigan exclusive of Tineoidea (Lepidoptera). Misc. Pub. Mus. Zool., University of Michigan, #88. 87 pp.

  • Moulding, J.D. and J.J. Madenjian. 1979. Macrolepidopteran moths light-trapped in a New Jersey oak forest (Lepidoptera). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 81(1):135-144.

  • Powell, J. A. and P. A. Opler. 2009. Moths of Western North America. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 369 pp.

  • Schweitzer, D. F. 2017. Current versus mid 20th century statuses of moths with big summer caterpillars (Saturniidae, Sphingidae, Datana) in nothern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. News of the Lepidopterists' Society 59 (3):134-141)

  • Smith, J.B. 1910. Insects of New Jersey. Annual Report of The New Jersey State Museum for 1909. Trenton, NJ. 888 PP.

  • Smith, Michael J. 1993. Moths of Western North America, 2. Distribution of Sphingidae of Western North America. Contributions of the C. P. Gillette biodiversity Museum, Department of Entomology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

  • Snyder, J. 2015. January 28 - last update. South Carolina moths searchable checklist. Department of Biology, Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina. Online: http://insect.furman.edu/sc-moths/

  • Steury, B. W., J. Glaser, and C. S. Hobson. 2007. A survey of macrolepidopteran moths of Turkey Run and Great Falls National Parks, Fairfax County, Virginia. Banisteria 29:17-31.

  • Tietz, H. M. 1952. The Lepidoptera of Pennsylvania, a manual. Pennsylvania Agricultural Experiment Station, Pennsylvania State College School of Agriculture, University Park.

  • Tuttle, J. P. 2007. The hawk moths of North America: A natural history study of the Sphingidae of the United States and Canada. The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation, Washington, D. C. 253 pp. +23 plates.

  • Wagner, D.L. 2012. Moth decline in the northeastern United States. News of the Lepidopteristss Society 54(2):52-56.

  • Wagner, D.L. 2005. Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton Field Guides. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ. 512 pp.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2018.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2018 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.