Sphinx libocedrus
Incense Cedar Sphinx

Sphinx libocedrus, Starr County, Texas, courtesy of Michael van Buskirk.

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: Sphinx Linnaeus, 1758 ...........
Species: libocedrus Henry Edwards, 1881


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Sphinx libocedrus courtesy of Bruce Walsh.


The Incense cedar sphinx, Sphinx libocedrus (Wing span: 2 3/4 - 3 1/4 inches (7 - 8 cm)), flies in arid chaparral, brushlands, and prairie breaks from Texas west through New Mexico and Arizona to southern California, and further south to Sonora and Baja California Sur.

Prescott, Arizona is the specimen type locality.

It is very rarely found and is threatened due to habitat destruction.

Sphinx libocedrus, Starr County, Texas, courtesy of Michael van Buskirk.

The upperside of the forewing is pale blue-gray to dark gray with a black dash reaching the wing tip and a white stripe along the lower outer margin. The upperside of the hindwing is black with two diffuse white bands, the upper one being practically non-existent.

Sphinx libocedrus, Starr County, Texas, courtesy of Michael van Buskirk.


Sphinx libocedrus adults fly as a single brood from July-September. Evan Rand has taken specimens in May and August in Yavapai County, Arizona, suggesting two broods in that area.


Pupae 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 nectar at a variety of flowers, including honeysuckle. Both sexes come to lights.


Larvae feed on New Mexican forestiera (Forestiera neomexicana) and on little leaf ash (Fraxinus gooddingii) in the Oleaceae family. There are green and dark forms and all larvae tend to darken just before pupation.

Michael Van Buskirk reports a larva (beautiful image) find on Forestiera angustifolia, Elbow Bush-Oleaceae, on October 29, 2005, in Starr County, Texas.

The larval images below are courtesy of Bruce Walsh.

Sphinx libocedrus pupa, courtesy of Mike van Buskirk.

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