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 Moth - Paonias excaecata - Pink Underwings

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Paonias excaecata
Pink Underwings

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

Blinded Sphinx Moth – Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth – Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Paonias excaecata

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

Blinded Sphinx Moth - Paonias excaecata - green caterpillar with a horn

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth - Paonias excaecata - green caterpillar with a horn

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Paonias excaecata

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

Blinded Sphinx Moth – Paonias excaecata pupating underground

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Paonias excaecata
Pupating underground

Blinded Sphinx Moth Pupa – Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth Pupa
Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth - Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Paonias excaecata

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.

Blinded Sphinx Moth - Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Paonias excaecata

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.

Blinded Sphinx Moth - Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Paonias excaecata

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

Blinded Sphinx Moth - Camouflage – Paonias excaecata

Blinded Sphinx Moth
Camouflage
Paonias excaecata

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