You are what you eat: the Small-eyed sphinx

Paonias myops blends in on Prunus serotina
The small eyed-sphinx, Paonias myops, is a moth in the family Sphingidae.  Many of the sphinx moths are specialists, and can only feed on a very limited range of host plant lineages.  This one feeds on black cherry Prunus serotina.  One of the advantages of specialization on a host is that insects can adapt cryptic coloration and behaviors that match the plant on which they are found.  This one has brown spots that appear to mimic the spots found on late-season cherry leaves.  It may be just enough camouflage to keep a hungry bird from noticing the caterpillar.

The small eyed sphinx is so named because of small eye-spot on it's hind wing (not visible in the photo below).
Two small-eyed sphinx moths on black cherry, shortly after leaving their underground cocoons


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