sphinx moth


: hawk moth

Note: The larvae of the hawk or sphinx moth often assume a defensive position in which the front end is raised in a manner suggestive of the Egyptian sphinx.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Under attack, the Nessus sphinx moth caterpillar emits a sort of crackling buzz from its mouth. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 23 Mar. 2018 Conservation photographer Mac Stone used a camera trap to capture the first-ever photo of a giant sphinx moth visiting a ghost orchid. Steven Bedard, Discover Magazine, 26 Nov. 2019 The huge sphinx moth and their large caterpillars are out and about. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Oct. 2022 For example, the aforementioned and dreaded tomato hornworm metamorphizes into the large sphinx moth, a nighttime pollinator important to pitahaya and other night-blooming plants. Linda Jones, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Sep. 2020 These rare, charming orchids were long thought to be pollinated by a single insect: the giant sphinx moth. Douglas Main, National Geographic, 11 July 2019 He was proven right 130 years later, when Morgan’s sphinx moth (Xanthopan morganii) was seen feeding from the orchid with its huge tongue. Douglas Main, National Geographic, 11 July 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sphinx moth.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1839, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sphinx moth was in 1839

Dictionary Entries Near sphinx moth

Cite this Entry

“Sphinx moth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sphinx%20moth. Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition

sphinx moth


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