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Modest Sphinx Common & Scientific Name Correction

6-16-17 moest sphinx IMG_8668Poplar Hawk-moth and Big Poplar Sphinx are both common names used for more than one species of moth. Normally, the scientific name would clarify the identity of a species, but in yesterday’s post, the scientific name given was that of another moth with the same common name.

The confusion over the use of the same common names for different species of moths has led to the current use of the name Modest Sphinx for the moth depicted in yesterday’s post, with a scientific name of Pachysphinx modesta. It derived both common and scientific names from the fact that when it is seen up against a tree or other substrate with its forewings not fully extended, the bottom half of the moth is dark, as though “modestly covered” by a cloak or shawl. Thank you, Andree Sanborn, for your sharp eyes!

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One response

  1. Most welcome! I posted mine just now on FB. I don’t see them every year, not as much as I see all the blinded/ twin-spotted spinxes.

    That common name problem has caused quite a few arguments in our house between myself (Vermont) and husband (New Hampshire). Even people from neighboring states have different common names. We speak only Latin now and it keeps the peace.

    June 16, 2017 at 10:03 pm

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