Ceratomia hageni

Ceratomia hageni
seer-a-TOHM-ee-uhmm HAY-gen-eye
Hagen's Sphinx or Osage Orange Sphinx
Grote, 1874

Ceratomia hageni male courtesy of Vernon A. Brou, Jr.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.


Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Sphinginae, Latreille, [1802]
Tribe: Sphingini, Latreille, 1802
Genus: Ceratomia Harris, 1839 ...........
Species: hageni Grote, 1874


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Hagen's sphinx, Ceratomia hageni, (Wing span: 2 3/4 - 3 5/8 inches (7 - 9.2 cm)), flies in Michigan south to Georgia and west to Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. It is absent along the immediate east coast.

Ceratomia hageni, DeSoto, Dallas County, Texas, June 24, 2009, courtesy of Virginia Dyson.

The upperside of the forewing is gray with a green tint and has dark indistinct wavy lines, and pale gray patches at the wing tip and along the costa. The upperside of the hindwing is dark grayish brown with paler gray at the base and outer margin.

I identified the moths below based primarily on the distinct pale markings of the forewing apex, but more so by the pale submarginal area with short, thin, black dashes emanating toward the body from the midpoints of the dark areas of the fringe.

Ceratomia hageni, March 21, 2007, Ennis (Ellis Co.), Texas, courtesy of Val Mansfield.

Warning: Val Mansfield writes, "I believe my one year old labrador retriever consumed this insect and experienced a violent reaction. She is currently in the animal hospital in stable condition at 16 hours after consumption. However, her liver level is elevated. Is the insect in the attached photo poisonous? Several of these insects appeared in recent days. The insect body appears to be 3 1/2 inches with a wing span of 4 inches. I live in the country near Ennis Texas."

I do not know if there is any correlation between the dog's illness and the moth, but larvae of Ceratomia hageni feed on foliage of Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) and the fruit and foliage are known to contain certain toxins.

One website reports, "Contact with the sap from this tree can cause dermatitis (Schur 1932). Subsequent reports (Muenscher 1951, Gardner & Bennetts 1956, Schwartz et al. 1957) are brief and may all derive from Hurst (1942) and/or Schur (1932). It is by no means clear whether the sap is irritant or sensitising or both."

The dog's illness may not even have been directly related to the moths, but I would not be surprised if the milky sap of this plant can cause allergenic reactions in and of itself, and I also would not be surprised if it binds itself to certain toxic substances either naturally occuring in the soil or introduced through environmental spills or discharges.


Osage Orange Sphinx adults fly in two flights from March-April-September with possibly three-four flights in Missouri from May-October.

Vernon A. Brou confirms there are at least four generations annually in Louisiana.

Ceratomia hageni, Woodbury, Cannon County, central Tennessee,
May 12, 2010, courtesy of Carol Wolf.


Pupae probably wiggle to surface from subterranean chambers just prior to eclosion.


Females call in the males with a pheromone released from a gland at the tip of the abdomen. Adults, which fly at dusk, nectar at a variety of flowers.


Ceratomia hageni fifth instar on Bois D’arc (Maclura pomifera) tree, DeSoto, Dallas County, Texas,
July 8, 2009, courtesy of Virginia Dyson.

Larvae feed on osage orange (Maclura pomifera).

Ceratomia hageni, Jasper, Newton County, northwestern Arkansas,
October 5, 2009, courtesy of Bob Barber.

Bob Barber writes, "This was on a large stump below two large Osage-orange, Horse-apple or Bois D'Arc (Maclura pomifera) trees. Looking for a place to pupate. Location is Jasper, Newton County, Arkansas, on 10/05/09. I was told you might be interested. I didn't notice it was parasitized until I got back to my cabin and downloaded the pictures, and I left it where I found it."

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