Abbott’s sphinx (Sphecodina abbottii) is a moth of the Sphingidae family. It lives in eastern North America.
Adults fly in May-June in the north, but have several generations in the south. The underwings have a strong yellow band and in flight, the moth buzzes, appearing like a bee. At rest, they raise their abdomens and are well camouflaged on tree bark, looking like a broken branch (Wagner, 2005).
Early instars are a pale greenish-white, with at first a horn, but later a brown knob near the hind end. Final instars (75 mm in length) come in two patterns: one has brown bands such that there are ten large pale green spots on the back and an eyespot on the rear. This form may mimic grapes. Others are completely brown, with a wood-grain patterning, and with the rear eyespot. (Wagner 2005) In the final instar the knob looks a lot like a vertebrate eye, down to the white reflection spot. If it is pinched or poked, the larva sqeaks and bites at the attacker (Wagner 2005). Larvae feed on grapes (Vitis) and Ampelopsis. (Wikipedia)
Hyles euphorbiae, Spurge Hawkmoth (Sphingidae) This is a widespread species in Europe where it is known for its brightly coloured caterpillars usually found feeding openly on spurges . What is not seen usually is when they come out of the eggs as you can see in this photo where the newly emerged caterpillars are seen eating away their egg-shell and start to wander around, while their brothers are still inside the other eggs, curled around themselves tightly.
The forewing upperside of the Spurge Hawkmoth (Hyles euphorbiae) is pale yellow-gray to lavender-gray, with a dark brown spot at the center of the costa and at the wing base, and a dark brown band running from the wing tip to the inner margin. The costal and outer margins may be dusted with pink or gray. The hindwing upperside is black with a pale greenish outer margin and a pinkish brown median band which becomes white at the inner margin. The wing span is about 64 -77 mm (Opler et al. 2010).
The larvae are also conspicuously colored, with a pronounced tail or “horn” near the rear end. Young larvae are variously patterned with green, yellow, and black. Older larvae have a distinctive red, black, and yellow pattern with a double row of white spots on each side and white speckles (Balaban and Balaban 2005).
Adult Spurge Hawkmoths are present beginning in early to mid-summer (Batra 1983). The females lay eggs singly or in small clusters on spurge leaves. (Opler et al. 2010). After hatching, larvae consume leafy spurge leaves and flowers. Mature larvae enter the soil to pupate. There are one or two generations per year, with soil-inhabiting pupae as the overwintering stage (Batra 1983).
The larvae feed on various species of Euphorbia in the spurge family Euphorbiaceae. Adults feed on flower nectar (Opler et al. 2010).