Fun Achemon Sphinx Moth Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Oct 20, 2022 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Amazing facts about the Achemon sphinx moth.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

The Achemon sphinx moth belongs to the family Sphingidae and the order Lepidoptera. Its scientific name Eumorpha Achemon was given to species by Dru Drury, a British entomologist in 1773 when they were discovered.

These moths are native to North America and their range occupies Colorado, South Dakota, California, Arizona, Alaska, and almost every other state in America. However, these moths are uncommon in the Southeastern United States except in Florida.

They are also found in Southern Canada, Mexico, and North-west Pacific. Achemon sphinx moths develop just like other moths, through the process called metamorphosis.

Metamorphosis is a Greek word that means changing or transformation. The process of metamorphosis is divided into two common types: incomplete and complete metamorphosis.

Incomplete metamorphosis is a process where the young insects look identical to their parents and are called nymphs, but have no wings, grasshoppers, dragonflies, crickets, and cockroaches go through this process. Whereas butterflies, beetles, bees, and moths go through complete metamorphosis, the young insects look nothing like their parents and are called larvae.

Achemon sphinx moths go through four different stages during the process of metamorphosis- egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Achemon sphinx moth caterpillar pupates inside burrows.

If you like this, then learn about some other arthropods from our gypsy moth facts and five-spotted hawk moth facts pages.

Achemon Sphinx Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Achemon sphinx moth?

The Achemon sphinx moth (Eumorpha Achemon) is an insect belonging to the Animalia kingdom. They are endemic to North America including South Dakota, Colorado, and Virginia.

What class of animal does an Achemon sphinx moth belong to?

They belong to the Insecta class, Arthropoda phylum, the order Lepidoptera, the family Sphingidae and is the genus Eumorpha. Achemon sphinx moth scientific name is Eumorpha achemon.

How many Achemon sphinx moths are there in the world?

Accurate data about their population size is not available, but an estimated number of 11,000 moths from various species are said to inhabit the United States.

Where does an Achemon sphinx moth live?

The Achemon sphinx moth has an extensive geographical range and can be found in Colorado, South Dakota, California to Southern Canada, and northern Mexico. They are common and can be easily found across America.

What is an Achemon sphinx moth's habitat?

Their habitat includes open areas such as parks, gardens, grasslands, scrublands. They are adaptable to cool, and warm climatic conditions.

Who do they live with?

These moths are solitary and live alone. However, they pair up during the breeding season to mate and reproduce.

How long does an Achemon sphinx moth live?

An Achemon sphinx moth has a poor life span and lives only up to one or two weeks.

How do they reproduce?

Female Achemon sphinx moths leave a trail of pheromones during the breeding season, to attract male moths. Males can travel as far as 2 mi (3.2 km) to mate with a suitable female.

The breeding season generally begins in spring or early summer (March or June). After mating, females lay pale green eggs on plant leaves.

These eggs quickly hatch in the next six or nine days and immediately begin feeding on the leaf they were hatched on. Young caterpillars are green with brown markings and have prominent horn-like tips, these horns fade away sometime during their last exuviate.

They eat through the leaves in round holes and crawl their way to the ground. Females lay about 1,000 eggs, to ensure at least a few eggs survive predatory attacks and hatch.

After hatching, the only thing this caterpillar needs to do is feed on plants endlessly and store the eaten foods, for it pupates and grows into an adult. Caterpillars will shed and split their skin around four to five times while growing.

When the final stage of metamorphosis arrives, the caterpillar winters pupates beneath soft and moist soil. They normally pupate under plants they have previously infested or fed on, such as Virginia creeper, various wild grape creepers (grape vitis).

Pupation can last for several days or weeks. Adults usually emerge in late June or early July.

What is their conservation status?

The NatureServe conservation status has classified the Achemon sphinx moth (Eumorpha Achemon) as an Apparently Secure species.

Achemon Sphinx Moth Fun Facts

What do Achemon sphinx moth look like?

The Achemon sphinx is a large moth with a heavy body, four wings, six legs, and a joint body divided into three different sections namely the head, thorax, and abdomen, it has a wingspan that extends up to 3 in (7.6 cm) wide.

Its forewing is brown and pink with a dark square-rectangular mark towards the end, the hindwing is mainly pink with a few brown markings.

It has light brown furry legs that contrast with the dark brown markings on the wings. Before pupation, the caterpillar is large, cylindrical-shaped, and has horn-like projections emerging from its belly, therefore, nicknamed the hornworm.

Its color changes every time it splits or sheds its skin, but it's commonly pale purple-brown, and various tones of dark green with about seven lighter colored stripes running along the sides of its body, and tiny hairs.

Achemon Sphinx Moth

How cute are they?

Both the young larvae or caterpillars and grown adults are one of the most brilliant-looking moth species in the region where they exist and are fairly cute, with striking pink-brown colors and attractive patterns. This species can easily be found in South Dakota, Colorado, and Virginia.

How do they communicate?

These moths are nocturnal, meaning they are active during the night and visual communication is impossible between them. Therefore, they communicate via vocalizations, they produce low-frequency sounds to locate other moths and share information, they also use echolocation, a reflection of their signals to dodge obstacles.

Adult females emit and leave a trail of pheromones, which shares their reproductive condition, sex, size, color, and readiness to mate with males looking for a suitable female partner.

Often, several males track the same pheromone trail left behind a single female and engage in combat, to assert dominance and decrease competition during the breeding season.

Male adults also share their information via low-intensity ultrasound, these sounds are as soft as whispers. These sounds are produced by tymbals, these are located near the cuticle connected to a specific muscle.

This muscle contracts, the tymbal slightly bends and thus produces a 'click' sound, once the muscle is relaxed, the tymbal goes back to its original place and shape, producing another 'click'. These sounds are audible to humans as well.

If they sense the presence of a predator nearby, they share false information about their appearance via these low-frequency sounds to avoid being hunted and preyed on.

How big is an Achemon sphinx moth?

The Achemon sphinx moth can grow up to 3.5 in (8.8 cm) long and they have an impressive wingspan that extends up to 3 in (7.26 cm) wide. The Achemon sphinx moth larvae is comparatively very small.

An African bullfrog is almost twice the size of an Achemon sphinx moth. They are also larger than the Carolina sphinx moth.

How fast can an Achemon sphinx moth fly?

We do not have information about their speed rate. Since these moths are nocturnal, they remain mobile during the day unless disturbed. However, at night, they are known to fly quite strongly, their wings reportedly beat as fast as a hummingbird.

How much does an Achemon sphinx moth weigh?

Adults of this species weigh about 0.5 oz (15 g). During their caterpillar transformation stage, they feed on large amounts of food which increases their weight approximately  by 3,000 to 4,000 times.

What are the male and female names of the species?

These moths do not have specific names for their male and female species. Therefore, they are simply denoted as males and females.

What would you call a baby Achemon sphinx moth?

The young ones of this species are called larvae.

What do they eat?

As caterpillars, it feeds on plant leaves, especially the Virginia creeper and wild grape vitis leaves. An adult Achemon sphinx moth food or diet is sipping nectar from various flowers petunias, Japanese honeysuckle, and phlox from gardens or backyards.

Their predators include nocturnal insectivores such as bats, owls, lizards. They are also preyed on by frogs, chameleons, cats, rodents, bears, and many other amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

Are they dangerous?

No, these moths are not dangerous and cause no harm to humans. The larvae are harmless as well.

Would they make a good pet?

We do not recommend keeping them as pets as they have a short life span and live only up to two or three weeks.

Did you know...

It is one of three main pollinators of the rare prairie fringed orchid flowers.

These moths are commonly called grape sphinx moths, as they are mostly found in grape vineyards.

The order, Lepidoptera, includes butterflies and skippers as well; moths outnumber butterflies by a 9-1 ratio.

If you wish to get rid of them, you will have to use an insecticide made specifically for killing moth larvae.

This moth does not migrate to a specific place as such, but they migrate underground so that they can metamorphose into adult sphinx moths.

How many eggs does a sphinx moth lay?

An adult female lays about 1,000 larvae to increase their survival chances.

Are tersa sphinx caterpillars poisonous?

No, tersa sphinx caterpillars are not poisonous, even a bite from them causes no harm to humans.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these blue crab facts and elm seed bug facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Achemon sphinx moth coloring pages.

north america south dakota california colorado

Get directions
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

Read full bio >