Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera)
Sphinx and Hawk MothsSphingidae
These moths are often mistaken for hummingbirds because they have a rapid wing beat that allows them to hover while collecting flower nectar. They can be active at night, dawn, or during the day. Some species are important pollinators, and many have developed specialized relationships with orchids. Larvae feed both day and night on a variety of plants, sometimes damaging crops and ornamental plants. They are often attacked by Braconid Wasp parasitoids.
Representative Genera and Species:
Hyles gallii, Hemaris thysbe
Pollinator Life Cycle:
Females lay their eggs singly or in small clusters on host plant leaves. The larvae pupate, and over-winter in loose cocoons that are spun in shallow burrows or chambers just below the soil surface, or in leaf litter. Some species have multiple generations per year.
Federally, none of the assessed members of this family are considered rare in Canada. Some species are listed as “exotic” or “accidental”.
These medium to large moths have heavy bodies and thickened antennae with slim tips. Their narrow, pointed wings often have irregular edges, and hindwings are smaller than forewings. Colouration varies from brown, purple, orange, green, or yellow, with bands, spots, or lines. The transparent wing sections of “clearwings” have no scales. Their proboscis is usually long, staying rolled up when not in use. The larvae have a characteristic spine, giving them the common name of “Hornworm”.
A wide variety of habitats, including: open woodlands and edges, scrubby areas, fields, gardens, suburbs, gardens, clearings, open meadows and roadsides, river margins, stream sides, near cottonwood or aspen trees, forests, wooded grassland valleys.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Fescue Prairie
- Mixed Grass Prairie
- Tall Grass Prairie