Photo by Alison Copeland

Pink Spotted Hawkmoth

(Agrius cingulatus)


The larva or caterpillar, is known as the Sweet Potato Hornworm. 

The Pink Spotted Hawkmoth has a robust body with a grayish brown abdomen with pink bands. Its forewing is mottled gray/brown and its hindwing is gray with black bands and pink at the base. It has a typical wing span of 3 3/4 to 4 3/4 inches (9.5 - 12 cm).

The caterpillar is large, speckled pink and orange with a distinctive white and black stripped head.


The Pink Spotted Hawkmoth prefers many open habitats including fields, meadows, weedy areas, marshes, and roadsides.


The caterpillar prefers Sweet Potato and Morning Glory leaves, while the adult moth prefers Morning Glory flowers (Convolvulus sp.), and Petunia (Petunia sp.).


The caterpillars can be pests on sweet potatoes. A strong flier that has been seen far out to sea. The larva is known as the “sweetpotato hornworm”.

The Sweet Potato Hornworm is the caterpillar of the Pink Spotted Hawk Moth. This large specimen was delivered to our office by a local farmer. He is about 6.5 inches long and is munching on the leaves of a morning glory vine. We are keeping him to watch him turn into a moth.