Manduca quinquemaculata quinquemaculata
Updated as per Fauna Entomologica De Nicarauga, November 2007
Updated as per SHILAP publication: Lista de Sphingidae del Uruguay, September, 2010; Msc Gabriela Bentancur Viglione; January 31, 2011

Manduca quinquemaculatus
Five-spotted hawkmoth
man-DOO-kuhmm kwin-kweh-magh-kewe-LAY-tus
(Haworth, 1803) Sphinx

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Port Bruce, Ontario, Canada, July 9, 2005
courtesy of Jo Richardson and Jody Buchner.

Manduca quinquemaculatus female courtesy of Bruce Walsh.

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Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Sphinginae, Latreille, [1802]
Tribe: Sphingini, Latreille, 1802
Genus: Manduca Hubner, 1807 ...........
Species: quinquemaculatus Haworth, 1803


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The Five-spotted hawkmoth, Manduca quinquemaculatus (Wing span: 3 9/16 - 5 5/16 inches (9 - 13.5 cm)) flies in tobacco fields, vegetable gardens, and wherever host plants are found within its range, generally from
Nicaragua: Managua;
north throughout most of the United States and occasionally southern Canada, but it is uncommon in the Southeast and the Great Plains.

There are reports from Hawaii and Brazil and Uruguay.

I have never seen one on Prince Edward Island, Canada, but frequently saw them nectaring at railroad-side phlox at dusk or at lights in New Jersey.

The moth abdomen usually has five but sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. The upperside of the forewing is blurry brown and gray. The upperside of the hindwing is banded with brown and white and has two well-separated median zigzag bands. The forewing fringes are grayish, not distinctly spotted with white.

The specimen type locality is England.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Peterborough, Ontario, June 30 - July 1, courtesy of Tim Dyson.


Manduca quinquemaculatus adults fly as several broods from February-October in Florida and from April-October in Louisiana. There are at least two broods from May-October in the rest of the range.

Visit Manduca quinquemaculatus, Smith Valley, La Crosse County, Wisconsin, September 3, 2007, courtesy of Mary Ann Roesler.

Visit Manduca quinquemaculatus, nectaring at petunia, Noelridge Park, Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa, September 4, 2011, Tom Jantscher.


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.

The adults nectar from flowers including Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), petunia (Petunia hybrida), bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis), tobacco (Nicotiana), and phlox (Phlox).

Here is the Five-Spotted Hawkmoth on a crinum flower.

Image courtesy of Norma J. Wood from North Central Texas.


Adults fly at dusk, and females deposit eggs singly on the upper surface of host plant leaves. The caterpillars are called Tomato Hornworms and each has a black horn at the end of the abdomen. Caterpillars have huge appetites for leaves and fruits and can defoliate plants quickly. Fully-grown caterpillars pupate and overwinter in soil burrows.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, just north of Emily Conservation Park,
between Lindsay and Peterborough, Ontario, Canada,
August 6, 2006, courtesy of Keith Mcconachie.

Larvae feed on potato, tobacco, tomato, and other plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Manduca quinquemaculatus on tomato, courtesy of Jonathan Tubbs, (Otsego County, Michigan)

Manduca quinquemaculatus on tomato, courtesy of Jonathan Tubbs, (Otsego County, Michigan)

Larvae also exhibit a dark form and in some specimens, both green and dark forms, there is a cream coloured supspiracular line and an extra half slash on the last abdominal segment as per David Bygott's image from Arizona.

Manduca quiquemaculatus fifth instar, dark form, Tucson, Arizona, August 17, 2006,
ravaging tomato plants, courtesy of David Bygott, id confirmed by James Tuttle.

Visit Manduca quinquemaculatus larval images (green and brown), courtesy of Mike Kuhl, Mount Hope, Ontario, Canada.

Visit Manduca quinquemaculatus larval images (green and brown), courtesy of Jill Burrows, Georgetown, Williamson County, Texas.

Images of pupae courtesy of Tim Dyson. Larvae will pupate without soil in a tightly lidded plastic tub under loose paper towels. They should not be handled until they have hardened (a few days after they have darkened). The long curved projection from the head to the first section of the abdomen houses the proboscis or feeding tube.

Caterpillars have many natural enemy. They are beset by many parasitoids and predators. Eric Runfeldt sent me a short but graphic account of an attack by Polistes fuscatus, a paper wasp, on one of the Manduca quinquemaculatus larvae in his garden.

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