How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Sphinx moths

There are several species of sphinx moths that vary somewhat from one another, particularly in color and pattern. Sphinx moth larvae are distinguished by a long black horn on the back end. When fully grown, the caterpillar is 3 inches long, has a dark button where the horn used to be, may vary in color, and has at least six diagonal white stripes down the sides.

Life cycle


Sphinx moths are generally minor pests, appearing cyclically. Caterpillars feed on grape leaves, first causing small round holes and later consuming the entire leaf.


Because the occurrence of sphinx moths is cyclic, noticeable damage is uncommon. Naturally occurring parasites normally control this pest, and other control should not be needed.

Sphinx moth larva
Sphinx moth larva

Sphinx moth adult
Sphinx moth adult

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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