Fun Laurel Sphinx Moth Facts For Kids

Devangana Rathore
Oct 21, 2022 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
There are so many laurel sphinx moth facts to know and learn.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

The laurel sphinx moth, also known as a fawn sphinx, is a type of moth found in North America. The laurel sphinx caterpillar is meaty and green. A white and black striped diagonal line runs along both sides of the green head's face. The actual legs, those closest to the head, are blackish and white as well. It has yellow and black fleshy prolegs at the back. Each segment has a vibrant tri-colored diagonal line that is black-white-yellow in color. A spiky blue horn coated in small black lumps protrudes from the back end. Laurel sphinx caterpillar moths feed on privet, ash, lilac, fringe-tree, and olive-family plants. According to some sources, this caterpillar also enjoys mountain laurel. They are shy insects who do not enjoy a lot of interaction outside of their species. So if you ever do see one of these creatures around, you can admire them from afar, but do not go close!

There are so many fun animals and creatures to know and learn about! In addition to the sphinx moth, you can also check out other fun insects like the puss moth and American dagger moth. Continue reading for more fun facts about the laurel sphinx, or scroll onto other insects that are bound to blow you away with their fun facts!

Laurel Sphinx Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a laurel sphinx moth?

The fawn sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae) is a type of moth.

What class of animal does a laurel sphinx moth belong to?

The fawn sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae) belongs to the class of arthropods and is related to the family Sphingidae.

How many laurel sphinx moths are there in the world?

It is unknown how many Sphinx kalmiae moths there are in the world. They are classified as Not Evaluated by the IUCN List, meaning it is assumed that there is a healthy population of this species in the world.

Where does a laurel sphinx moth live?

This species lives in the woods. The fawn sphinx distribution range extends from Newfoundland and Maine west through to North Dakota and Manitoba and south to Louisiana and Alabama.

What is a laurel sphinx moth's habitat?

Sphinx kalmiae moths can be located east of the Great Plains, mostly in temperate portions of southern Canada and the United States, and west of the Rocky Mountains in North America. These moths are frequently seen under ornamental lilac plants.

Who does the laurel sphinx moth live with?

The laurel sphinx moth (Sphinx kalmiae) of the eastern United States is mostly solitary.

How long does a laurel sphinx moth live?

Both females and males are comparatively long-lived. The lifespan of fawn sphinx is about 10-30 days.

How do they reproduce?

There is a single generation each year in Canada, with adults on the fly in June to July. Individuals are on the flight from late May through to June to the south, then again from July to August to the north. In Louisiana, there could be as many as six generations. Huge green eggs are laid singly on the top surface of grape leaves by these moths. After six to nine days, the eggs hatch. A caterpillar consumes the green stuff on the host plant right after it hatches and crawls through to the bottom surface, where it remains to eat.

The larvae of sphinx moths move underground to transform into adult creatures, which then burrow their way to the top. These creatures emerge from their hiding places around dusk and begin eating on flower nectar.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of laurel sphinx moths (Sphinx kalmiae) that are found in North America, Newfoundland, and Canada is Not Evaluated.

Laurel Sphinx Moth Fun Facts

What does the laurel sphinx moth look like?

These animals are quite large, readily filling an outstretched hand with their wings. On its hairy thorax, this brown moth has black and brown patterns. The spine of the belly is brownish, with a black line running along with it. Light brown lines run the length of the forewings, giving the impression that the wings are made of bones. Sphinx moth larvae and the laurel sphinx moth do not resemble the green caterpillar that consumes food plants like lilac and privet.

McGeorge Sphinx Moth

We've been unable to source an image of a laurel sphinx moth and have used an image of a McGeorge Sphinx Moth instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a laurel sphinx moth, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

Caterpillars of these moths look cute and attractive due to their bright green color.

How do they communicate?

These moths don't generate sounds, so they do not need or possess ears. They use fragrance to communicate.

How big is a laurel sphinx moth?

The length of adult fawn sphinx is about 3 in (7.6 cm). The length of the gypsy moth is between 0.6-1.4 in (15.2-35.5 mm). Therefore, the fawn sphinx is approximately double in size compared to a gypsy moth.

How fast can a laurel sphinx moth fly?

With sleek bodies and wings designed for agility and speed, these giant moths are remarkable flyers. They are one of the few species capable of hovering in the air, along with hummingbirds and bats, and are frequently confused with the latter.

How much does a laurel sphinx moth weigh?

The weight of this species with its blue horn and yellow-green colored larvae is about 0.52 oz (14.7 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female moths belonging to the family (Sphingidae) do not haveany specific name.

What would you call a baby laurel sphinx moth?

Baby laurel sphinx moths with blue-colored horns that are located in Canada and the eastern United States do not have a specific name. They are called caterpillars until they turn into moths.

What do they eat?

The Sphinx kalmiae species feed with their proboscis, a curled tube in front of their heads which they uncurl and dig deep into blossoms for nectar, just like their near cousins, butterflies. Chionanthus, Syringa, Kalmia, and Fraxinus plants provide food for the larvae.

Are they dangerous?

The laurel sphinx moth is harmless and does not attack. Due to the spikes at the end of the bodies, sphinx moth larvae are sometimes referred to as 'hornworms'. Although the horn mimics a stinger, caterpillars are gentle and not hazardous to touch.

Would they make a good pet?

It is not a good idea to capture these wild moths that reside in the eastern United States, and keep them in a box at home.

Did you know...

Nonnative sphinx species is the name of these insects in the United States, but hawk moths is the name given to them in Canada and Europe. As the larva is so enormous, controlling it will be difficult, but you can use a pesticide designed specifically for moth larvae or handpick them to keep them away from your plants.

Linne invented the term sphinx moths in 1758, based on the larva's habit of rearing up in a defensive posture when frightened, resembling the Egyptian sphinx. Hawk moths and hummingbird moths are other names for sphinx moths.

The Atlas moth is one of the world's largest insects, having a wingspan of up to 10.63 in (27 cm), which is larger than a human hand.

Grasshoppers are a high-protein dietary source in countries like China and Indonesia.

What flowers do sphinx moths like?

These animals enjoy tube-shaped blooms with nectar such as brugmansia, Columbine datura, butterfly bush, flowering  tobacco, evening primrose, and honeysuckle.

How many eggs does a sphinx moth lay?

Sphinx moth larvae claw their way to the top after metamorphosing into adult moths. Females deposit as many as 1,000 eggs on the bottom of food plants after mating and the the eggs hatch after a few days.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our stick bug facts and Christmas beetle facts pages.

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

Laurel Sphinx Moth Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Chionanthus, kalmia, fraxinus, and lilac

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

0.52 oz (14.7 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

woodlands, gardens, and plant nurseries

Where Do They Live?

north america

How Long Were They?

3 in (7.6 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Sphinx kalmiae

What Do They Look Like?

Black and brown

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana Rathore picture

Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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