Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, May 4, 2009
San Luis Obispo County
Hyles lineata, Deer Canyon, Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo County, California,
April 6, 2009, courtesy of Brad Schram.
Thirty-two Sphingidae species are listed in the USGS for
California. Not all of the species are reported by USGS
or anticipated in San Luis Obispo County.
It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will
help you quickly identify the moths you have encountered.
A WO?" after the species name indicates that
I have no confirmed reports of this species in San Luis Obispo County, but I
(William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be encountered as
an occasional stray.
This page is dedicated to and inspired by Brad Schram who provides the
Hyles lineata image at the top of the page.
Brad writes, "I read that there has been a large movement of these moths on the California coast this year. I've seen many more than normal here the past week or so.
Deer Canyon, Arroyo Grande, California, April 6, 2009."
A USGS indicates the
moth is reported on the USGS website and/or in Moths of Western
North America, #2. Distribution of Sphingidae of Western North America, revised,
an excellent little booklet available through Paul Opler.
Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by
sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an
image, via email to
WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth"
Abdomen usually has five, sometimes six pairs of yellow bands. Forewing upperside blurry brown and gray. Hw upperside
banded with brown and white, with two well-separated median zigzag bands. Forewing fringes grayish, not distinctly spotted with white.
Manduca sexta WO, the Carolina Sphinx:
Abdomen usually has six pairs of yellow bands, broken across the back. Sixth set quite small.
Fw upperside has indistinct black, brown, and white markings.
Hw upperside banded with black and white, with two black zigzag median lines that are very close together with hardly any white between them.
Fw fringes spotted with white.
Sphinx chersis USGS, the Northern Ash
Sphinx or Great Ash Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing is soft dark gray to blue-gray with a series of black dashes,
one of which reaches the wing tip.
Sphinx perelegans adults fly in montane woodlands and mixed chaparral-type vegetation as a single brood
in the north, with adults mainly on the wing in June and July.
It flies from dusk until after midnight.
Sphinx sequoiae WO, the Sequoiae Sphinx:
The dark form, occurring from Oregon to central California, has blue-gray forewings with black dashes along the middle. The pale form,
in the juniper belt of the rest of the range, is very pale gray with only a faint blue tint.
This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta
being smaller and darker.
Moths should be on the wing from June-August.
USGS, 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.
The abdomen has very distinct gray and black bands.
Adults nectar at dusk so you may see them in the garen at that time, more likely as a stray.
Hemaris thetis USGS, 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.
The forewing is light grey and brown with many lines, and there are dark patches near the middle of the inner margin,
near the apex and near the anal angle. The entire basal area of the hindwing is pink.
Fight would be from June to August. Larvae feed on grape foliage.
Arctonotus lucidus USGS, the Pacific Green
These moths have a short, stout body. The upperside of the forewing is green to olive green with pink and brown markings. The upperside of the hindwing is pale rose pink with a darker submarginal band.
Euproserpinus euterpe adults fly in pastures and fallow fields
as a single brood from late January-February-April. They nectar at
flowers of filaree (Erodium) and Nemophila during the
warm parts of the day.
This species is listed as "threatened" in its known
Adults nectar at flowers during the warm parts of the day.
Euproserpinus phaeton adults fly swiftly and close to the ground over
dry washes and flat areas in deserts as a single brood from
Hyles lineata, Deer Canyon, Arroyo Grande, April 6, 2009, Brad Schram
Hyles lineata USGS/BS/AY, the White-lined Sphinx
Adults usually fly at dusk, during the night, at dawn, and during the day. Trish Meyer reports moths nectaring at
salvia and ovipositing on Epilobium cana (California fuchsia) and Hooker's Evening Primrose.
Hyles lineata, Templeton, March 28, 2013, Aaron Yonker
Adults fly in the afternoon from March-April-June in oak
woodland and pine-oak woodland in foothills, nectaring from chia,
heartleaf milkweed, golden currant, bluedicks, fairyfans, vetches,
thistles, hedgenettles, etc.
Hyles lineata, Templeton, San Luis Obispo County, California,
March 28, 2013, courtesy of Aaron Yonker.
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.
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