Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, August 13, 2011
Updated as per BAMONA, August 13, 2011
Stanislaus County, California
Thirty-two Sphingidae species are listed on the BAMONA website for
California. Not all of the species are reported by BAMONA for
(Eight species: Manduca quinquemaculatus, Sphinx chersis, Pachysphinx occidentalis, Smerinthus cerisyi, Hemaris thetis, Eumorpha achemon, Arctonotus lucidus,
Proserpinus clarkiae are listed by
BAMONA for Stanislaus 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 your county, but I
(William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present.
A green BAMONA indicates the
moth is reported on the BAMONA 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 forward sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.
This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens
(potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.
If you grow tomatoes, you have probably encountered it.
Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant. Occasionally they feed on potato foliage and leaves of other plants.
BAMONA, 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.
the Wild Cherry Sphinx, WO ??: FW dull slate grey with considerable light grey scaling in broad band along costa about 3/4 of
distance from body toward apex.
Median lines are black and thin. There is a wavy, diffuse dark subterminal line,
inwardly bordered by white, and whitish bar in terminal area, paralleling outer margin.. (southern range limit in CA)
WO, 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.
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.
Adults fly as a single brood in the desert and in pinyon-juniper
woodland from May to August.
This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta
being smaller and darker.
Moths should be on the wing from June-August.
BAMONA, 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.
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 should be present wherever grapes are found.
Fight would be from June to August. Larvae feed on grape foliage.
BAMONA, the Pacific Green
Sphinx Moth or Bear Sphinx: 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.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 salvia and oviposit on Epilobium cana
(California fuchsia) and Hooker's Evening Primrose in LA county.
BAMONA, Clark's Sphinx:
The upperside of the forewing is greenish gray; the median area may be dark or pale. The upperside of the hindwing is bright orangish yellow with black borders.
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.
Visit Stanislaus County Sphingidae Larvae for a thumbnail checklist of
the Sphingidae caterpillars you are likely to encounter in Stanislaus County.
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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