Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 2010
Updated as per Butterflies and Moths of North America, formerly USGS, July 2010
Dedicated as per personal communication with Lori Oberman, July 29, 2015

Lyon County, Nevada

Sphingidae

Pachysphinx occidentalis female, Lyon County, Nevada,
July 29, 2015, courtesy of Lori Oberman.

Pachysphinx occidentalis, Lyon County, Nevada,
July 30, 2015, courtesy of Lori Oberman.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information/sightings with images are welcomed by Bill.

The page is dedicated to Lori Oberman who provides the images of the female Pachysphinx occidentalis top and bottom of this page.

Eighteen Sphingidae species are listed for Nevada on the U.S.G.S. website. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Lyon County. Two species are reported on U.S.G.S. as of July 2010.

It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you are likely to encounter.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present or might be present, although unreported. A "USGS" indicates the moth is confirmed on USGS site, which is now BAMONA.

Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an electronic image, via email to Bill Oehlke.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata WO; unlikely

This species has not been reported in your county, but may be there as a very rare stray.

The moth is a very strong flier and is frequently encountered far north of its usual range.

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.

Manduca sexta WO, unlikely, the Carolina Sphinx. Fw upperside has indistinct black, brown, and white markings. Hw upperside is banded with black and white and has two black zigzag median lines that are very close together with hardly any white showing between them. Fw fringes are spotted with white.

Sphinx asellus WO, the Asella sphinx: The upperside of the forewing is pale silver-gray with a series of black dashes, a white patch at the tip, and a white stripe along the outer margin. The upperside of the hindwing is black with blurry white bands.

Sphinx chersis WO, 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 dollii WO, the Doll's sphinx: Sphinx dollii (Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches (4.5 - 6.3 cm)), flies in arid brushlands and desert foothills from Nevada and southern California east through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico to Oklahoma and Texas.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx: Forewings, long and slender, are held close to the body when the moth is at rest. I only see them occasionally on P.E.I. despite visiting lights frequently. Hence they may be present, but seldom seen.

Sphinx perelegans 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.

Sphinx vashti WO, 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/LO, 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.

Pachysphinx occidentalis, July 29, 2015, courtesy of Lori Oberman.

Smerinthus cerisyi WO, 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.

Paonias myops WO, the Small-eyed Sphinx: This small species is probably present in your county. This species ranges across North America. The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.

Macroglossinae subfamily


Dilophonotini Tribe:

Erinnyis ello WO, stray, Ello Sphinx: Abdomen has very distinct gray and black bands. Female is pale gray with a few dark dots near outer margin. Male is dark gray and brown with a black band running from base to tip. Hindwing upperside is orange with wide black border.

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.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, very unlikely, the Achemon Sphinx: Adults nectar from flowers of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), petunia (Petunia hybrida), mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), and phlox (Phlox). Fight would be from June to August. Larvae feed on grape foliage.

Macroglossini Tribe:

Euproserpinus wiesti WO, Wiest's Primrose Sphinx: Euproserpinus wiesti adults fly, during the day, over sand washes and prairie blow-outs as a single brood from May-June.

Euproserpinus phaeton, the Phaeton Primrose Sphinx, USGS: 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 February-April.

Hyles lineata WO, the White-lined Sphinx: Adults usually fly at dusk, during the night, at dawn, and during the day. Moths nectar at a number of different flowers and oviposit on Epilobium cana (California fuchsia) and Hooker's Evening Primrose.

Proserpinus clarkiae WO, 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.

Pachysphinx occidentalis female and eggs, Lyon County, Nevada,
July 29, 2015, courtesy of Lori Oberman.




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.

Use your browser "Back" button to return to the previous page.

This page is brought to you by Bill Oehlke and the WLSS. Pages are on space rented from Bizland. If you would like to become a "Patron of the Sphingidae Site", contact Bill.

Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.


Show appreciation for this site by clicking on flashing butterfly to the left.
The link will take you to a page with links to many insect sites.

This website has been created and is maintained by Bill Oehlke without government or institutional financial assistance. All expenses, ie., text reference support material, webspace rental from Bizland, computer repairs/replacements, backups systems, software for image adjustments (Adobe Photoshop; L-View), ftp software, anti-virus protection, scanner, etc. are my own.

I very much appreciate all the many images that have been sent to me, or of which I have been granted permission to copy and post from other websites. All images on this site remain the property of respective photographers.

If you would like to contribute to the maintenace of this website by sending a contribution to

Bill Oehlke
Box 476
155 Peardon Road
Montague, Prince Edward Island, C0A1R0
Canada

your donation would be much appreciated and would be used for
1) paying for webspace rental;
2) paying for computer maintenance and software upgrades;
3) purchases of additional text reference material (journals and books) in anticipation of expanding the site to a worldwide Sphingidae site;
4) helping to pay my daughter's tuition (completed spring 2013); with anything left over going to humanitarian aid.

If you are mailing a check from USA, please use $0.85 postage. ($1.15 is 2014 rate so check with post office as rates seem to be rising almost annually.) Donations can also be made through Paypal via the button below.