Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 22 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Evan Rand (Sphinx libocedrus, May 7, 2010, 5 mi. South of Sedona, Yavapai Co. - 1 male); May 9, 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Evan Rand (Sphinx libocedrus, August 28, 2009, Paulden, Yavapai Co. - 1 pair); May 9, 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Evan Rand (Sagenosema elsa, April, 2009; May 2010, south of Sedona); May 11, 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Angela (Angie) Roy (Manduca quinquemaculatus, Prescott, August 5, 2013); August 6, 2013

Yavapai County, Arizona


Hyles lineata, nectaring at pansies, Yavapai County, Arizona,
elevation 5000 feet, April 9, 2007, courtesy of Jennifer Radloff.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information/sightings are welcomed by Bill.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Jennifer Radloff of Yavapai County in central Arizona.

Jennifer writes (April 9, 2007):

"Not sure if this was a hummingbird moth on my pansies the other day. It acted like a hummingbird and was about three inches long. We could see it from across the yard here in AZ. It never stayed still enough for a good picture. The wings were always in motion.

We are in Yavapai County of central AZ. We have an elevation of 5000 ft. Temps at night are in the 40ís, sometimes colder, days in the 60ís to 80ís at this time."

Special thanks also to Dave Hearn who sends the image of Manduca rustica taken July 31, 2009, in Chino Valley.

Fifty-three Sphingidae species are listed for Arizona on the U.S.G.S. (now BAMONA) website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Yavapai County (twenty-four are reported on U.S.G.S.). It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be present, although unreported. A "USGS" indicates the moth is confirmedon USGS site.

Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an electronic image, via email to Bill Oehlke.

After posting this page, Evan Rand, a collector from Phoenix, Arizona, kindly presented his observations: "I do frequent light-trapping in the summer. I would just like to comment on your checklist for Yavapai Co. Arizona Sphingidae. Although I don't usually trap in Yavapai Co., I do set up traps frequently in neighboring Gila Co. and Maricopa Co. You list Eumorpha typhon as "remotely possible" which I think is wrong. I have personally collected two specimens (both perfect) in Gila Co. in places that are very similar to Yavapai Co. (Ponderosa pine forest, elevation ~5000 ft). So I think it's highly probable that it lives in Yavapai Co. I'm pretty sure that Proserpinus terlooii, Manduca muscosa, and Xylophanes falco should not be on this list. I've never encountered them farther than a few miles from the Mexican border."

I adjusted my comments after reading Evan's field observations.

Many thanks to Angie Roy who provides the following images of a very fresh Manduca quinquemaculatus.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona,
August 5, 2013, courtesy of Angela (Angie) Roy.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona,
August 5, 2013, courtesy of Angela (Angie) Roy.

Please also send your sightings to BAMONA an excellent on-line resource.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata, USGS, Pink-spotted Hawkmoth
This moth is a very strong flier, and make its way to southern Arizona and southern California.

It is confirmed for Yavapai County and neighbouring counties.

Ceratomia sonorensis, WO, Sonoran Sphinx: The fringes of the upper wings are checkered black and white. The upperside of the forewing is dark gray with black bars and dashes and whitish patches. The upperside of the hindwing is dark brown with pale gray at the base and has two black transverse lines. very slight possibility

Lintneria istar WO, the Istar Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is dark gray with brown tinges. A series of narrow dashes runs from the tip to the cell spots, and a wide black band runs from the middle of the outer margin to the base of the wing. It flies to the east and to the south and might be present, but is unlikely in Yavapai County.

Lintneria separatus USGS, the Separated Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is dark gray with black and light gray wavy lines. The upperside of the hindwing is black with a brownish gray border and two white bands.

Manduca florestan USGS

The upperside of the forewing is gray to yellowish gray to brown. The reddish brown patch just outside the cell and above the dashes is the most distinguishing character.

Manduca muscosa USGS, Muscosa sphinx

The upperside of the moth is soft greenish gray; the forewing has a small green to white cell spot, and the hindwing has black bands and a black patch at the base. probably very rare if present

Manduca occulta WO, Occult sphinx

Manduca occulta can be differentiated from M. sexta which has 2/3 black, 1/3 white checkering on the forewing, while occulta has equal amounts of black and white checkering. unlikely possibility

Manduca quinquemaculatus USGS/AR, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth: This species is confirmed in Yavapai County, and has been seen in nearby counties. I suspect if you grow tomatoes, you are likely to encounter it.

Manduca quinquemaculatus, Prescott, August, 5, 2013, Angela Roy

Manduca rustica USGS/DH, the Rustic Sphinx

This species is officially recorded in Yavapai County, and it has been taken in other nearby counties. Look for three large yellow spots on each side of the abdomen.

Manduca rustica, Chino Valley, July 31, 2009, Dave Hearn

Manduca sexta USGS, the Carolina Sphinx

This species is recorded in Yavapai County. If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it, though.

Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

Sagenosoma elsa USGS, the Elsa sphinx

This species is recorded in Yavapai County. The upperside of the forewing has a wide white band along the costa from base to apex. The remainder of the wing has black and white bands.

Sagenosoma elsa, south of Sedona, April 2009; May 2010; Evan Rand

Sphinx asellus USGS, the Asella sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is pale silver-gray with a series of black dashes, a white patch at the tip, and a white stripe along the outer margin. The upperside of the hindwing is black with blurry white bands.

Sphinx chersis USGS, the Northern Ash Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx

This species is reported in Yavapai. Larval hosts are ash, lilac, privet, cherry, and quaking aspen.

Sphinx dollii USGS, the Doll's sphinx:Sphinx dollii (Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches (4.5 - 6.3 cm)), flies in arid brushlands and desert foothills from Nevada and southern California east through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico to Oklahoma and Texas.

Sphinx libocedrus USGS, the Incense Cedar Sphinx

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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx occidentalis USGS, the Big Poplar Sphinx

This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta being smaller and darker.

Moths should be on the wing from June-August.

Paonias excaecata WO, the Blinded Sphinx,

The outer margin of the forewing is quite wavy. There is a dark cell spot and a dark oblique line mid wing from the costa almost to the inner margin. Basic ground colour is pinkish brown. Flight would be June-July. unlikely

Paonias myops USGS, the Small-eyed Sphinx

Named for the small eye-spot in the hindwing, this moth has a wide distribution and is confirmed in Yavapai County.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, the Cerisyi's Sphinx or One-eyed Sphinx, Larvae feed on poplars and willows.

Flight would be from late May-July as a single brood. possibly replaced by S. ophthalmica in Arizona

Smerinthus jamaicensis USGS, the Twin-spotted Sphinx

This moth is widely distributed and fairly common. Along the East Coast, it flies from P.E.I. to Florida. It is less common in the southwest.

Smerinthus opthalmica WO

Larvae feed on poplars, aspen and willows. Note different shape of double arced forewing pm line compared to the straighter pm line of cerisyi, above. S. ophthalmica has smoother scalloping of the fw outer margin.

Smerinthus saliceti USGS, the Salicet Sphinx, flies in valleys and along streamsides from Mexico City north to west Texas, southern Arizona, and extreme southern California. Larvae feed on poplars and willows. Flight would be from late April-September, probably as a double brood.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe:

Aellopos clavipes WO, the Aellopos Sphinx.

The body is dark brown with a wide white band across the abdomen. Wings are dark brown. The forewing has a black cell spot and 3 white spots near the pale brown marginal area. possibility as stray

Aellopos titan WO, the Titan Sphinx.

The body is dark brown with a wide white stripe across the abdomen. The wings are dark brown. It is very similar to above species, but the upperside of the hindwing has pale patches along the costa and inner margin. possibility as stray

Enyo lugubris, the Mournful Sphinx, WO
The body and wings are dark brown. The forewing has a large black patch covering most of the outer half of the wing. There is a pale tan cell spot (dark inner pupil), and a fairly straight median line to the inside of the cell spot. possibility

Erinnyis alope, the Alope Sphinx, WO

The upperside of the forewing is dark brown with short yellowish streaks on the forward half and wavy yellowish bands on the rear half.
The upperside of the hindwing is bright yellow with a wide dark brown border. possibility

Erinnyis crameri, the Cramer's Sphinx, USGS

The upperside of the abdomen is gray, without black bands, and the underside does not have black spots. The upperside of the forewing is dark brown, and may have pale yellow-brown patches along the inner edge.

Erinnyis ello USGS, the Ello Sphinx

This species is reported in Yavapai County and in other southern Arizona counties.
Males and females differ.

Erinnyis obscura, the Obscure Sphinx, USGS

During the night adults nectar at flowers, including bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) and Asystasia gangetica beginning at dusk.

July and August are flight times in the southern states.

Hemaris thetis WO, the Thetis Clearwing or Bee Hawk Moth,

The moth flies along forest edges and in meadows, gardens and brushy fields. Day-flying adults nectar at lantana, dwarf bush honeysuckle, snowberry, orange hawkweed, thistles, lilac, Canada violet, etc.

Isognathus rimosa, Rimosus Sphinx, WO: Female fw upperside: mostly gray brown on front half; dark brown on rear half while male fw upperside is yellow gray or gray brown. Both sexes have wavy dark markings. Hw upperside of both sexes is yellow with an incomplete dark border on outer margin. possibility as stray

Philampelini tribe:

Eumorpha achemon USGS, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is officially reported for Yavapai County.
Eumorpha achemon larvae feed upon Grape (Vitis), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and other vines and ivies (Ampelopsis).

Eumorpha satellitia WO, the Satellite Sphinx

The Satellite Sphinx Moth, Eumorpha satellitia satellitia flies in Jamaica and from Mexico to Ecuador and further south into Bolivia. remote possibility

Eumorpha typhon WO, the Typhon Sphinx: The upperside of wings is deep red-brown with pale brown bands. Each hindwing has pink along the costal margin and a triangular white spot on the outer part of the inner margin. good possibility; found in Gila (Evan Rand)

Eumorpha vitis WO, the Vine Sphinx

The upperside of the moth is dark pinkish brown. Each forewing has a lighter brown band along the costa, and sharp pinkish white bands and streaks. The hindwing has a pink patch on the inner margin. remote possibility

Macroglossini tribe:

Hyles lineata JR/USGS, the White-lined Sphinx: The white lines on the body and forewings are striking. Even in flight, the broad pink area on the hindwings is visible.

Larvae can be quite varied.

Hyles lineata, April 9, 2007, Jennifer Radloff

Proserpinus juanita USGS, the Juanita Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is pale gray-green with a deep green-brown median area and a white dash at the wing tip.

Proserpinus terlooii WO, the Terloo sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is uniform olive green with a darker median band. The upperside of the hindwing is red with an olive green border. remote possibility; unlikely

Proserpinus vega USGS, the Vega sphinx: Jim Tuttle writes, "P. vega has a very large and dark basal patch as the FW meets the thorax that is lacking in terlooii. There are also three prominent longitudinal stripes on the thorax of vega that are lacking in terlooii." possibility

Xylophanes falco WO, the Falcon Sphinx

The upperside of the forewing is orange-brown along the forward half, striped with dark brown and light brown along the rear half, with dark brown bands separating the two. The upperside of the hindwing is pale brown with dark brown marginal and submarginal lines. remote possibility as a rare stray

Enjoy some of nature's wonderments, giant silk moth cocoons. These cocoons are for sale winter and fall. Beautiful Saturniidae moths will emerge the following spring and summer.

Read Actias luna rearing article. Additional online help available.

Eggs of many North American species are offered during the spring and summer. Occasionally summer Actias luna and summer Antheraea polyphemus cocoons are available. Shipping to US destinations is done from with in the US.

Use your browser "Back" button to return to the previous page.

This page is brought to you by Bill Oehlke and the WLSS. Pages are on space rented from Bizland. If you would like to become a "Patron of the Sphingidae Site", contact Bill.

Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.

Show appreciation for this site by clicking on flashing butterfly to the left.
The link will take you to a page with links to many insect sites.