Large moth -- probably a Pachysphinx modesta, aka Big Poplar or Modest Sphinx

This fellow was apparently just resting, on my front stoop in Casco (Maine) Friday afternoon. He adopted this slightly aggressive posture when prodded (to see if in fact he WAS alive!). Quite large, and I've never seen one like it before, here..... I'd love to know what species this is!


I think it is some variety of Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth, but which, exactly?? :-)


Indigo faved this
  • vtpeacenik 7y

    Gee! He is gorgeous.
    Not like this one, but I had a huge moth at my window one night a couple of weeks ago. 4-5' wingspread, brown with "eyes". Never saw such a big moth.

    Seen on my Flickr home page. (?)
  • 7y

    wow, what a fantastic creature! no idea what type of moth it is tho', sorry.
  • Natalija 7y

  • Gwen's River City Images 7y

    Lovely shot of this one. I think you're right on the family. I use this site to do my identifications on moths and butterflies. You can even look by your state.
  • Bob Travis 7y

    Thanks, Gwen. Great reference, as usual!! :-) From looking there, it seems the best match is probably Pandorus sphinx (Eumorpha pandorus), but there seems to be a LOT of color variation, judging by the photos I've seen there, so I'm very open to a better guess!
  • Gwen's River City Images 7y

    I'm leaning more towards the Modest sphinx. The critical markings to me are the scalloping on the edges of the wing and that little white spot on the wide dark band of the forewing. Here is a better picture than the one on the Butterflies and Moths site and one here too of Pachysphinx modesta.
  • Bob Travis 7y

    Yup, that's a precise match! Great find, Gwen -- thanks! I had seen other photos of the Big Poplar Sphinx, but they didn't match up like these do.
  • Anita Gould 7y

    Great find! Quite right, they flash those eye markings on the underwing in order to try to scare away potential predators.
  • Ang&Lori 7y

    Great capture!
  • Francesco 7y

    wonderful detail!
  • Shawn Wainwright 4y

    Cool looking Moth!
    You've been invited to join us at

    Moths of the eastern United States
  • ACREMAR 4y

    Lovely moth!
    Very good shot :)

    Alessandra & Rocco
1 fave
Taken on July 4, 2008
  • ƒ/6.3
  • 200.0 mm
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