Updated as per personal communication with David Wikle May 26, 2005
Dedicated as per personal communication from Rob Santry, (Proserpinus clarkiae), May 12, 2012
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, May 12, 2012
Updated as per BAMONA, May 12, 2012
Proserpinus clarkiae, Ash Creek Road in Siskiyou County, northern California,
May 10, 2012, courtesy of Rob Santry
Thirty-two Sphingidae species are listed in the USGS for
California. Not all of the species are reported by USGS (now BAMONA)
(eleven species) or anticipated in Siskiyou 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 Siskiyou County, but I
(William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present.
Many thanks to David Wikle (DW) who has
provided some sighting information.
Many thanks to Rob Santry who has sent the beautiful image of Proserpinus clarkiae at the top of the page.
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
Please also send sightings to BAMONA, and excellent online resource.
This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens
(potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.
USGS/DW, 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 reaching the wing tip. Note grey
thorax with narrow black lines.
This species is confirmed for Siskiyou County.
I only see them occasionally on P.E.I. despite visiting lights
USGS/DW, the Elegant Sphinx.
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. Note dark thorax.
This species is not recorded in San Benito County.
Adults fly as a single brood in the desert and in pinyon-juniper
woodland from May to August.
USGS, the Snowberry Sphinx
The upperside of the forewing has a narrow black subterminal line
bordered by a white inverted V-shaped line on the outside, and a
black line running inwards from the apex of the wing.
It is most often found in montane woodlands and along streamcourses.
This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta
being smaller and darker.
Moths should be on the wing from June-August.
The grey-blue eyespot of the hindwing gives this species its name.
Larvae feed on birches, willows, cherries and oaks.
The outer edge of the forewings is quite scalloped.
the Small-eyed Sphinx
This small species is probably widespread and common. This species ranges across North America.
The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.
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.
Larvae feed on poplars, aspen and willows.
Note different shape of double arced forewing pm line compared to the straighter pm line of cerisyi, directly above.
S. ophthalmica has smoother scalloping of the fw outer margin.
Hemaris thetis BAMONA, 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.
This moth is recorded for Siskiyou County by David Wikle,
and it should be present wherever grapes are found.
Fight would be from late May to August. Larvae feed on grape foliage.
USGS, the Pacific Green
Sphinx Moth or Bear Sphinx
This species is confirmed in Siskiyou
It tends to be an late winter-early spring flier, on the
wing in the early evening. It comes to lights at night.
the White-lined Sphinx
Adults usually fly at dusk, during the night, at dawn, and during the
day. Moths nectar at a variety of flowers and oviposit on
Epilobium cana (California fuchsia) and probably on
Hooker's Evening Primrose.
Proserpinus clarkiae, Ash Creek Road California, May 10, 2012, courtesy of Rob Santry
Adults fly in the afternoon from April-June in oak woodland and
pine-oak woodland in foothills, nectaring from chia, heartleaf
milkweed, golden currant, bluedicks, fairyfans, vetches,
thistles, hedgenettles, etc.
On May 26, 2005, David Wikle reports the following Sphingidae
responding to mercury vapour lights in the
Ash Creek area, 10 miles northwest of Yreka:
Hyles lineata- (1)
Sphinx chersis- (1)
Sphinx drupiferarum- (1)
Sphinx perelegans- (12)
Paonia myops- (1)
Ash Creek Road in Siskiyou County, Northern California on 5/10/2010
Eumorpha achemon- (4).
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