Isoparce cupressi
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Cypress or Baldcypress Sphinx
(Boisduval, [1875]) Sphinx cupressi

Isoparce cupressi male, Louisiana, courtesy of Vernon A. Brou.

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Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Sphinginae, Latreille, [1802]
Tribe: Sphingini, Latreille, 1802
Genus: Isoparce Rothschild & Jordan, 1903 ...........
Species: cupressi Boisduval, [1875]


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Isoparce cupressi, the rare Cypress Sphinx (Wing span: 2 3/8 - 2 9/16 inches (6 - 6.5 cm)), flies in Cypress swamps in Georgia (specimen type locality), and from Maryland to Texas. It has been reported in Mexico.

This species is threatened due to destruction of habitat.

The upperside of the forewing is gray with two longitudinal broken black dashes. The lower dash, with a patch of orange-brown above it, is thicker and is located near the anal angle. The upper broken dash is near the apex. The upperside of the hindwing is dark gray.

Isoparce cupressi, July 18, Bon Secour, Alabama, courtesy of Dirk Bayer.

The outer wing fringes are checkered with white to yellowish gray and black.


Isoparce cupressi adults fly as at least four broods in Louisiana, from February-October.


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

Isoparce cupressi female, Louisiana, courtesy of Vernon A. Brou.


Females call in the males with a pheromone released from a gland at the tip of the abdomen. The short-tongued adults probably do not feed.


Eggs are deposited singly, scattered on the underside of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) needles. Larvae feed on the needles at night and pupate in shallow underground burrows where the second generation overwinters.

Isoparce cupressi, Louisiana, courtesy of Vernon Brou.

Isoparce cupressi, southern Florida, July 4, 2007, courtesy of Pat Dietrich.

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