The Carolina sphinx moth (Manduca sexta) is also known as the tobacco hornworm, hummingbird moth, six-spotted sphinx, and the tobacco fly.
The Carolina sphinx moth has six pairs of yellow bands on its abdomen; indistinct black, brown, and white markings on its forewing with wing fringes spotted with white; and black and white bands and two black zigzag lines on its hindwing. The forewings are long and narrow and larger than the hindwings. These moths have a wing span of two to 12 cm. The caterpillar, known as a tobacco hornworm because the caterpillars feed on the tobacco plant (Nicotiana attenuate), is cylindrical with seven straight white lines with black edges on each side and has a red-tipped horn at the end of its abdomen.
This species is found in tobacco fields, vegetable gardens, and a wide variety of other habitats. The Carolina sphinx moth is found in Massachusetts west across southern Michigan to Minnesota, central Colorado, and northern California; south to Florida, the Gulf Coast, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California. It is secure globally, though may be rare in parts of its range.
- Taxonomic Groups: Family: Sphinx Moths, Hawkmoths (Sphingidae) (Butterflies and Moths of North America)
- Fact Sheets: Hawk Moths (Australian Museum)
- Species Detail: Carolina Sphinx (Butterflies and Moths of North America)
- Hawk Moth and the Sacred Datura: A Mutual Aid Society (Mari N. Jensen, In Report on Research, Winter 2004-2005, vol. 21, no. 1, University of Arizona)
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