Ada County, Idaho
Hyles lineata nectaring on dandelion
Seventeen Sphingidae species are listed on USGS for Idaho. Almost all of the species are reported or anticipated in Ada 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 Ada County, but I
(William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be present.
A USGS indicates the moth is reported on the USGS website (nine species: Clark's sphinx
(Proserpinus clarkiae); Pacific green sphinx (Arctonotus lucidus);
Snowberry clearwing (Hemaris diffinis);
White-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata);
Big poplar sphinx (Pachysphinx occidentalis);
Five-spotted hawkmoth (Manduca quinquemaculata);
One-eyed sphinx (Smerinthus cerisyi);
Vashti sphinx (Sphinx vashti) and Wild cherry sphinx
(Sphinx drupiferarum)) 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.
USGS, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth:
This species is confirmed in Ada County, and the larvae feed on
tomatoes and go by the common name of "Tomato Hornworms".
Wild Cherry Sphinx:
This species is reported on the USGS for Ada County.
I only see them occasionally on P.E.I. despite visiting lights
frequently. Larvae are large and beautiful.
Sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is dark grey to black with a
paler costa and pale area from the base to the wing's centre.
Prefered habitats include montane woodlands and mixed chaparral-type
WO, 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.
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx:
This large poplar/willow feeder possibly flies in Ada County.
They are a heavy bodied species.
the Big Poplar Sphinx:
This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta
being smaller and darker.
There may be naturally occuring hybrids in Ada.
WO, 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.
the Small-eyed Sphinx:
This small species is widespread and common and is likely present. This species ranges across North America.
The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.
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.
Hemaris diffinis USGS,
the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth:
This day flying moth is widely distributed in Idaho.
I suspect I will get reports from Ada County.
Hemaris diffinis is likely replaced in Idaho, and west of Continental Divide by Hemaris thetis.
Hemaris thetis WO, Thetis Clearwing; 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.
USGS, Pacific Green
Sphinx Moth or Bear Sphinx: The Pacific Green
Sphinx Moth or Bear Sphinx tends to be an early spring flier, on the wing in the early
evening. It comes to lights at night.
the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx:
This species is not officially reported from Ada County; however, if
you have Gallium or Epilobium, you probably have
populations of this species.
USGS, White-lined Sphinx:
Very widespread. It can be seen flying during the day,
into the evening and also at night.
The highly variable larvae are often found in people's gardens.
USGS, Clark's Sphinx:
Day flier from April-June, prefering oak woodland and pine-oak woodland in
foothills. Moths nectar at a variety of flowers in the afternoon.
the Yellow-banded Day Sphinx:
This day flier is not officially reported from Ada, but it has
been found to the north, east, south and west in meadows near
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.
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