Lapara coniferarum, the Southern Pine Sphinx

Lapara coniferarum
luh-PAHR-uhmm kon-ih-fer-AIR-um
Southern Pine Sphinx
(J. E. Smith, 1797) Sphinx coniferarum

Lapara coniferarum male courtesy of Vernon Brou.

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Family: Sphingidae Latreille, [1802]
Subfamily: Sphinginae Latreille [1802]
Tribe: Sphingini Latreille, [1802]
Genus: Lapara Walker, 1856
Species: coniferarum (J. E. Smith, 1797)


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Lapara coniferarum, the Southern Pine Sphinx (Wing span: 2 - 2 1/4 inches (5 - 5.7 cm), females are larger than males), ranges through mixed and pine forests from Nova Scotia and Maine south to Florida, and west to Indiana and Louisiana.

Lapara coniferarum Patrick Coin, used with permission,
Durham County, North Carolina, July 10, 2004

The upperside is of the forewing is gray with two (sometimes one or three) black dashes near the wing center; other markings are usually diffuse. The upperside of the hindwing is a uniform brown-gray.

This species does not have the more sharply contrasting black markings of a fresh Lapara bombycoides. There is also an extensive reddish brown patch in the median area near the forewing inner margin of L. coniferarum.

Lapara coniferarum, Long Island, July 20, courtesy of Hugh McGuiness.


Male and female Lapara coniferarum moths have several broods throughout the year in Florida and from March-October (five broods annually, courtesy of V. A. Brou) in Louisiana. There are probably two broods from April-September in coastal South Carolina, and one brood from June-August northward.


Little is known about the eclosions of the earth pupators, but many believe pupae wiggle toward the surface just prior to emergence.


Female Lapara coniferarum extend a scent gland from the posterior of the abdomen to lure in the night flying males.

Lapara coniferarum female courtesy of Vernon Brou.


Lapara coniferarum eggs are a translucent pale green and incubation lasts 8-10 days at constant temp of 68-72 F.

Larvae feed upon various pine species, including loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and longleaf pine (P. pinaster).

Lapara coniferarum courtesy/copyright David Wagner.

Lapara coniferarum fifth instar, Abita Springs, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana,
copyright/courtesy of James P. Tuttle.

Larvae pupate readily under paper towels (no soil medium needed) in a dark bucket.

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