Amorpha juglandis

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Walnut sphinx
Amorpha juglandis MHNT CUT 2010 0 266 Sank City Sank Co Wisconsin male.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification

Hübner, 1809
A. juglandis
Binomial name
Amorpha juglandis
  • Generic
    • Cressonia Grote & Robinson, 1865
  • Specific
    • Sphinx juglandis J. E. Smith, 1797
    • Cressonia juglandis
    • Laothoe juglandis
    • Sphinx instibilis Martyn, 1797
    • Cressonia hyperbola Slosson, 1890
    • Cressonia robinsonii Butler, 1876
    • Smerinthus pallens Strecker, 1873
    • Cressonia juglandis alpina Clark, 1927
    • Cressonia juglandis manitobae Clark, 1930

Amorpha is a monotypic moth genus in the family Sphingidae erected by Jacob Hübner in 1809. Its only species, Amorpha juglandis, the walnut sphinx, was first described by James Edward Smith in 1797.


It is native to North America, where it is distributed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the United States.


The wingspan is 45–75 mm.


The adult moth is nocturnal, active mainly during the early hours of the night.

The caterpillar feeds on alder (Alnus), hickory (Carya), hazelnut (Corylus), beech (Fagus), walnut (Juglans), and hop-hornbeam (Ostrya) species. When attacked by a bird, the caterpillar produces a high-pitched whistle by expelling air from pair of spiracles in its abdomen. This antipredator adaptation may startle the bird, which may then reject the caterpillar.[2]


  1. ^ "CATE Creating a Taxonomic eScience - Sphingidae". Retrieved 2011-11-01.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Fullard, James H.; Napoleone, Nadia (2001). "Diel flight periodicity and the evolution of auditory defences in the Macrolepidoptera". Animal Behaviour. 62 (2): 349. doi:10.1006/anbe.2001.1753.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bura, V. L.; Rohwer, V. G.; Martin, P. R.; Yack, J. E. (2010). "Whistling in caterpillars (Amorpha juglandis, Bombycoidea): Sound-producing mechanism and function". Journal of Experimental Biology. 214 (Pt 1): 30–7. doi:10.1242/jeb.046805. PMID 21147966.
  • Knight, K. (2010). "Whistling Caterpillars Startle Birds". Journal of Experimental Biology. 214 (Pt 14): ii. doi:10.1242/jeb.054155. PMID 21834205.

External links[edit]