Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFSphingidae Members: 43 NC Records

Amphion floridensis B.P. Clark, 1920 - Nessus Sphinx


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Family: SphingidaeSubfamily: MacroglossinaeTribe: MacroglossiniP3 Number: 890194.00 MONA Number: 7873.00
Comments: The only member of this genus.
Species Status: Barcodes indicate a single species throughout its range.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948); Hodges (1971); Tuttle (2007)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1948); Wagner (2005); Tuttle (2007)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A small day-flying Sphinx. Like Hemaris species, Amphion is a bumblebee/hummingbird mimic, possessing two distinctive yellow rings on its abdomen and a tuft of feather-like scales at the tip of the abdomen; unlike Hemaris, however, the wings are opaque rather than transparent, brown on the forewings and reddish on the hindwings. Sexes are similar.
Adult Structural Features: The tongue is well-developed.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are green in early instars but brown in the last ones; they rest on the ground during the day (Forbes, 1948; Wagner, 2005). The head is relatively small and squarish (Forbes, 1948). In addition to the obscure oblique lines along the sides, a pale subdorsal stripe is also present. Pupation occurs underground.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most recent records come from the Outer Coastal Plain, with scattered - mostly historic - records from the Piedmont. Although potentially occurring statewide, records from the Mountains are lacking.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Probably has two broods.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Many of our records come from barrier islands where grape tangles occur in dune habitats. Elsewhere, our records come primarily from wet to mesic hardwood-dominated forests.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on members of the Vitaceae. Wagner (2005) lists Grape, Virginia Creeper, and Peppervine
Observation Methods: Look for this species in the daytime or at dusk visiting flowers. Also visits fruit, feces, sap and wet sand. It responds well to fermented baits and traps often demonstrate that the species can be quite common in area where it has otherwise never been seen. None of our records come from lights.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Vitaceous Tangles
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is far less commonly observed than Hemaris thysbe or diffinis, two other day-flying species that visit flowers. Use of baits during its daytime flight period may provide a more accurate picture of its distribution and abundance within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Amphion floridensis - Nessus Sphinx

Photos: 22

Recorded by: Jason and Amy Epley on 2020-04-04
Rowan Co.
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Recorded by: Amy Epley on 2020-04-04
Rowan Co.
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Recorded by: Barbara McRae on 2020-04-02
Macon Co.
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Recorded by: Barbara McRae on 2020-04-02
Macon Co.
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Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2019-09-03
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-08-03
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips on 2019-03-31
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: J. Jakubowski on 2017-07-04
Halifax Co.
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Recorded by: Jeff Beane on 2017-07-02
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2015-07-19
Orange Co.
Comment: Seen feeding at dusk at a sap flow along with Sphecodina abbottii, Darapsa sp., and Catocala ilia
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2014-06-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2013-08-06
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: j.wyche on 2013-04-25
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: j.wyche on 2013-04-25
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: j.wyche on 2013-04-25
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: Jeff Beane on 2012-03-31
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2011-06-12
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Lori Owenby on 2010-04-18
Catawba Co.
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Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2010-04-06
Camden Co.
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Recorded by: Salman Abdulali on 2008-04-11
Pitt Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2007-04-12
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Sudie Davis on 2003-07-22
Mecklenburg Co.
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