Lapara phaeobrachycerous, the Gulf Pine Sphinx

Lapara phaeobrachycerous
luh-PAHR-uhmm fee-oh-bra-KIH-ser-uhs
Gulf Pine Sphinx
Vernon A. Brou, 1994

Lapara phaeobrachycerous 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: phaeobrachycerous Brou, 1994


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Lapara phaeobrachycerous, the Gulf Pine Sphinx (Wing span: 2 1/2 - 3 1/16 inches (6.4 - 7.8 cm)), females are larger than males), ranges through pine forests in Mississippi and eastern Louisiana.

The upperside of the forewing is charcoal gray to brownish gray with white scales along the curving postmedial line and a prominent black dash (sometimes two) near the center of the wing. The upperside of the hindwing is uniform charcoal gray to brownish gray with no white scales or markings.


Lapara phaeobrachycerous moths have several broods throughout the year from April-October in Louisiana (five broods annually, courtesy of V. A. Brou).


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


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

Lapara phaeobrachycerous female courtesy of Vernon Brou.


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

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

Lapara phaeobrachycerous fifth instar, Abita Springs, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana,
courtesy of James Tuttle.

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

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