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

Siskiyou County


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 Bill Oehlke.

Please also send sightings to BAMONA, and excellent online resource.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens (potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.

Sphinx chersis 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.

Sphinx drupiferarum USGS/DW, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

This species is confirmed for Siskiyou County. I only see them occasionally on P.E.I. despite visiting lights frequently.

Sphinx perelegans 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.

Sphinx sequoiae USGS, the Sequoiae Sphinx

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.

Sphinx vashti 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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx occidentalis WO, 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 USGS, the Blinded Sphinx

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.

Paonias myops USGS/DW, 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.

Smerinthus cerisyi 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.

Smerinthus opthalmica MPNw

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.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

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.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon DW, the Achemon Sphinx

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.

Macroglossini Tribe:

Arctonotus lucidus USGS, the Pacific Green Sphinx Moth or Bear Sphinx

This species is confirmed in Siskiyou County.
It tends to be an late winter-early spring flier, on the wing in the early evening. It comes to lights at night.

Hyles lineata DW, 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 USGS/RS, Clark's Sphinx,

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.

Proserpinus clarkiae, Ash Creek Road California, May 10, 2012, courtesy of Rob Santry

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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