Many sphinx moths are excellent photographic subjects because of their nocturnal nature. For example, this Cerisy’s sphinx (Smerinthus cerisyi) was sitting on some iris leaves in our yard (Modoc County CA). It never moved while being photographed. I was then able to gently move the moth, open its wings to display the “eyes” on the hind wings and return it to the iris plants without the moth flying off or being harmed. I only wish some birds and mammals would be as cooperative.
Also called a one-eyed sphinx, Cerisy’s sphinx can be found from coast to coast in southern Canada and norther United States, south along the Rocky Mountains to Arizona and the Sierras through California.
The forewings of Cerisy’s sphinx moths are variable, marked with contrasting light and dark grey or brown. The hind wings are rosy pink with a tawny margin and a black and blue eye spots. Adults fly in May and June.
Cerisy’s sphinx caterpillars (larvae) are blue green with yellow diagonal streaks and a green and yellow horn at the rear. Caterpillars feed on willow, poplar and aspen.
In Europe and Canada, members of Smerinthus are called hawk moths, a name also commonly used in the United States.