Pandorus Sphinx Moth

This spectacular, massive insect is a pandorus sphinx moth. If I didn't know better, I'd guess this was a bug found in tropical rainforests or a similar exotic locale, far away from the asphalt and skyscrapers of downtown Chicago. But amazing as it may seem, this insect is found right here in the city.

Photo by Mason Fidino

This particular individual was spotted just a few hundred yards from Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. And, if you're wondering about the surface on which this bug is perching, the lovely moth is sitting pretty on a bike tire!

These moths are found throughout the eastern half of the United States and into Canada. Pandorus sphinx moths can grow to have wingspans more than 4 inches long. They are most active from May to October and fly at dusk.

It’s amazing to think that these beautiful insects can be found in our own backyards. To me, this is a real testament to the biodiversity we have all around us. Come on down to Nature Boardwalk and see what you can find today!

Vicky Hunt



I just took a picture of one on the cement patio at work. It is quite beautiful.

We found a moth we think may be a Pandorus Sphinx moth - in South Africa?!
Does anyone know how these came to be here? Are there others or is this the only one?

Maddy, Vicky replies: "South Africa is out of the range of this moth. I don't know how one would end up there, but it is an interesting sighting. Thanks for sharing." She also adds is a good reference for IDing your moth!

From one Maddy to another: You probably saw an Oleander Hawk Moth (Daphnus nerii). I just spotted a Pandorus today in Ontario and from the initial google search thought it was an Oleander until I looked at the distribution on Wikipedia. They're both stunning.

I found one on my wall at work the other day. i took a picture and it is now my desktop background.

Very cool Linda! Thanks for sharing.

Found one today at our back yard right here in Luanda Angola. Wonder how it got here.

Thanks for sharing, Faith!

We saw one in Kihei on Maui, HI on Feb. 16th. It was beautiful!

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