Nessus Sphinx: 17 Facts You Won’t Believe

Nessus sphinx facts about a moth that flies at day and at dusk.

There are a total of 160,000 species of moths in the world including butterflies and moths. In the United States alone there are a total of 11,000 species of moths. Butterflies and moths are often confused with one another, however they are different species. Nessus sphinx (Amphion floridensis) is a flying species of moth and not harmful to humans although they resemble stingers belonging to the family sphingidae. Amphion floridensis are endemic to Canada, Mexico, and North America including places like Virginia and Florida.

Sphinx moths act as good pollinators and seed dispersers. They feed primarily on nectar from plants and visit gardens or any such places that they find adequate food. They are not a serious pest on commercial vineyards primarily because there are multiple native grapes including Virginia creeper on which larvae can feed. Nessus sphinx (Amphion floridensis) was named by Benjamin Preston Clark in 1920. In Greek mythology 'Nessus' referred to as centaur, a creature that has the upper body of a human and a lower body of a horse. This article will discuss some fun and interesting facts about the Nessus sphinx. Don't forget to check out these hawaiian-hawk facts and plume-moth facts articles as well.

Nessus Sphinx

Fact File

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?

Multiple eggs

How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

1.51  in (38.5 mm)

Wingspan 1.37-2.16 in (35-55 mm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown, yellow, pink, and orange

Skin Type

Soft moist skin

What are their main threats?

Spiders, frogs, lizards, skunks, birds, and bats

What is their conservation status?

Not evaluated

Where you'll find them

Lowland and forested areas


Canada, Mexico, and North America





Scientific Name

Amphion floridensis





Nessus Sphinx Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Nessus sphinx?

The Nessus sphinx is a type of flying moth species that belongs to the kingdom Animalia and order Lepidoptera.

What class of animal does a Nessus sphinx belong to?

The Nessus sphinx is a type of amphibian that belongs to class Insecta, family Sphingidae genus Amphion.

How many Nessus sphinxes are there in the world?

The Nessus sphinx's population in the world is not evaluated. There are a total of 1,100 species of sphinxes species worldwide. If you search online you can easily find their population distribution map online.

Where does a Nessus sphinx live?

The Nessus sphinx lives in lowland, woodlands, and forested areas. The Nessus sphinx moth range can also be seen in gardens near homes and other areas like a farm that have nectar-rich plants for them to feed on.

What is a Nessus sphinx's habitat?

Nessus sphinxes live in a range of regions where they suck nectar from flowers. Adult females seek grapevines to lay eggs and for the caterpillars, pupae to survive. In Missouri, there is a  grapevine range which is major food plants for these species, and a place where you will easily find such species. They are seen in regions including, Canada, Mexico, Florida, Virginia, North America and in smaller state, county, regions and cities as well.

Who do Nessus sphinxes live with?

They are solitary and reside in hidden regions to keep themselves safe from possible predators. They are seldom seen around people and their instant response to any danger is their flight instinct.

How long does a Nessus sphinx live?

Nessus sphinx moths are estimated to live life for 10-13 days. Although their life is short and accommodates various climates of temperatures as well as long as they have appropriate food to feed on.

How do they reproduce?

An adult Nessus sphinx moth has multiple broods and farther north, only one. The brood season is from April to July which is in the north itself.  Adult males and females mate and lay multiple eggs. They have a complete lifecycle right from being born as eggs to developing through stages of being a larvae, to a caterpillar, and finally a moth. The Nessus sphinx moth caterpillar develops itself, the caterpillar digs shallow burrows and pupates underground chambers. Nessus sphinx caterpillars are light-colored and rarely seen from their shallow habitats.

What is their conservation status?

Nessus sphinx moth conservation status is not evaluated by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN), which is the IUCN red list. The IUCN red list contains access to the Nessus sphinx map which showcases where they are concentrated most.

Nessus Sphinx Fun Facts

What do Nessus sphinxes look like?

The Nessus sphinx moth is similar to other species of butterfly and moth, however if observed closely it's easier to distinguish and spot. They have furry-looking bodies with two pale yellow or whitish bright bands across their abdomen. The sphinx moth's upper body is brown and its hind wings have a reddish-orange middle band.  

Nessus sphinx moth has yellow bands on the abdomen.

How cute are they?

The Nessus sphinx moth is cute to look at, however, at first glance, it's easy to mistake it with stingers.

How do they communicate?

Butterflies and  Nessus sphinx moths are species that don't communicate via vocal communication however, they communicate via other modes including chemical communication as well as utilizing body language and vibrations.

How big is a Nessus sphinx?

A Nessus sphinx moth's 1.51  in (38.5 mm) in length which is ten times bigger than the smallest species of moth, (Stigmella maya) 0.055-0.059(1.4-1.5 mm).  

How fast can Nessus sphinxes fly?

Nessus sphinxes can fly at relatively good speeds. Nessus sphinx moth flies during the day and at dusk. The hawk-moth is the fastest insect flying at 30 mph (40kph). They are most active during the day.

How much does a Nessus sphinx weigh?

The exact weight of the sphinx moth is not evaluated however they are not extremely heavy. The heaviest moth is the white witch moth and measures a length of 12 in (30 cm) and has the capacity to carry 20,000 eggs in her abdomen.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The adult sphinx moth, whether male and female, is not addressed differently according to gender. They have anatomical differences which help identify the differences between them. Their common name is a sphinx.

What would you call a baby Nessus sphinx?

A baby sphinx moth is called a Nessus sphinx caterpillar or larvae when they are small in size. Caterpillars pupate in underground chambers and feed on plants available near their region once they grow in size.

What do they eat?

They feed on plants and flowers' nectar at both dusk and dawn. They may prefer flowers and ampelopsis over anything else.  Larvae eat genus Ampelopsis like pepper vine, grape, and cayenne pepper or cayenne pepper plants. Grape farms are specifically at threat to such moths since these species feed on grape and spoil the produce. Adults feed on flower nectar and are instrumental in seed dispersals. Adults search for appropriate food to feed on and stay away from chemical-free products. Certain other species of moths may feed on insects like caterpillars as well but Nessus sphinx don't consume insects.

Are they dangerous?

No, this species of moth is not dangerous although they may look similar to other species of stingers. It's still safe to maintain a safe distance from them to be cautious. Predators of the Nessus sphinx moth include katipo-spider, frogs, lizards, skunks, birds, and bats.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they are innately wild species and thrive best in the wild. It's not illegal to own them as pets however, it's best to pick species native to the region and not others. Certain professionals do keep moths in closures with proper search in the field. An important point to note is to keep a suitable environment for those species to live in and provide them with enough food.

Did you know...

Butterflies and moths and other similar species can drown or even die if water droplets fall on them due to the scales on their bodies. This may happen even if one touches them.

Moths are species that are not as admired as the butterfly species who are bright and colorful; however, both species are equally beautiful and the only difference is that butterflies come out in the daytime while moths come out mostly at night.

Why are they called Nessus sphinx moths?

Nessus sphinx (Amphion floridensis) was named by Benjamin Preston Clark in 1920. In Greek mythology 'Nessus' referred to a centaur, which is a creature that has the upper body of a human and a lower body of a horse. The name Sphinx loosely resembles an Egyptian sphinx. It is known by other names as well including Nessus Hawkmoth, hawk moths, hummingbird moth, and grapevine Amphion. The name changed over time, however, their popular name is Nessus sphinx itself. In various cultures, the moth symbolizes rebirth, change, or transformation of some kind; they hold an instrumental place in native American cultures.

What is the difference between a Nessus sphinx moth and other moths?

A Nessus sphinx moth is colorful compared to other species of moths. They have two yellow to white bands on their abdomen which set them apart and helps identify them easily. Apart from this, they are more or less similar to other moth species.

What is the difference between a male and female Nessus sphinx?

Male and female moths differ in various ways. The first is their flight patterns where females fly across haphazardly, while males tend to circle around their territory. They also differ in reproductive functions. Nessus sphinx yellow, Nessus sphinx moth male tend to have claspers that are missing on females and utilized during mating. In most instances of moths, they differ anatomically in terms of their size where females tend to be bigger as compared to males but this particular species has no recorded information on the same. Did you know that in the United States and north America alone there is a total of 11,000 species of moths including gypsy-moth, hawk-moth, cup moths, skippers, and others?  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including black-witch-moth facts, or promethea-moth facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable butterfly  coloring pages.



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