Virginia Creeper Sphinx

Darapsa myron


Photo of a Virginia Creeper Sphinx moth
The Virginia creeper sphinx moth is common in woods and brushy areas and comes to lights at night. The larvae eat Virginia creeper and grape leaves.
Donna Brunet
Other Common Name
Hog Sphinx

Sphingidae (sphinx moths)


Adult sphinx moths tend to be large, heavy-bodied moths with a long, pointed abdomen. The Virginia creeper sphinx moth has the top of the forewing with broad bands of dark brown, tan, gray, or olive green. Also note a dark dot positioned approximately in the middle of the forewing. The hindwings are orange or rusty; they are often covered by the folded forewings.

Larvae are “hornworms,” with a pointed taillike “horn” at the end. Young caterpillars are slender and yellowish with a seemingly large horn. Mature larvae are green, pink, tan, or brown, with 7 pairs of slanted lines on the sides; on each side, these merge into a wide line near the back. The body is swollen at the first abdominal segment (a little way back from the head).

Nearly sixty species of sphinx moths have been recorded from Missouri.


Wingspan: 1¾–2½ inches.


Photo of a Virginia creeper sphinx moth resting on a brick wall
Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth
Seen from above, the Virginia creeper sphinx has broad bands of dark brown, tan, gray, or olive. There's also a dark dot about in the middle of the forewing.
Habitat and conservation

Common in woodlands and brushy areas. Consistently found at lights and also seen feeding on nectar from flowers.


Larvae feed on the foliage of grape vines, Virginia creeper, viburnums, raccoon grapes, and related plants. Adults hover around flowers drinking nectar in a manner reminiscent of hummingbirds.

image of Virginia Creeper Sphinx Hog Sphinx
Distribution in Missouri



Common resident species.

Life cycle

Adults fly from mid-April into September. A multibrooded species in Missouri. Eggs are laid in small numbers on the undersides of host-plant leaves. Cocoons are made of silk and dried leaves, and pupation takes place in soil or leaf litter.

Human connections

The caterpillars can be a pest on vineyards. Sphinx moths are named for their caterpillars’ habit of resting, motionless, in a reared-back, head-up position. Long ago, this posture must have reminded people of the sphinxes of Egyptian mythology, such as the monumental Great Sphinx in Giza.

Ecosystem connections

The caterpillars are herbivores that graze on vegetation. The adults serve a role in pollination. All stages provide food for predators. Caterpillars of many sphinx moths are commonly parasitized by wasps, which lay eggs directly on the caterpillars.