TX Organic Research Center



Sphinx Moth

Common Names: Catalpa Worm, Sphinx Moth, Catalpa Sphinx

Scientific Name: Order Lepidoptera, family Sphingidae, Ceratomia catalpae

Size: Adult wingspan--2 1/2" to 3", pupa--2" to 3", larva--up to 3"

Identification: The larvae are large with a sharp horn at the tip of the abdomen. Larvae have a black streak down their back and are slimmer than the tobacco or tomato hornworms.

Biology and Life Cycle: Pupae pass the winter under the soil. Adults emerge soon after catalpa trees are in full leaf. The moths are rarely seen because they fly at night. They are attracted to security lights. Usually two generations per season.

Habitat: In, under, and within close proximity of catalpa trees.

Feeding Habits: Leaves of catalpa and closely related trees such as chitalpa.

Economic Importance: Serious pest on catalpa trees but terrific fishing bait.

Natural Control: Parasitic wasps, birds.

Organic Control: Release of trichogramma wasps and Bacillus thuringiensis spray as a last resort.

Insight: The adults are big beautiful sphinx moths; the larva is also quite beautiful.

Here's a good site with more information:

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