Created and dedicated as per personal communication with Bryan David Ramboz, (Manduca quinquemaculatus; September 24, 2015); September 25, 2015
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, September 25, 2015
Updated as per BAMONA, September 25, 2015

Cache County, Utah


Manduca quinquemaculatus, Cache County, Utah,
September 24, 2015, courtesy of Bryan David Ramboz.

This page is dedicated to Bryan David Ramboz who supplies the Manduca quinquemaculatus image at the top of the page.

Twenty-four Sphingidae species are listed on Bamona for Utah. Not all of the species are reported by USGS [now BAMONA] (twelve species as of September 25, 2015) or anticipated in Cache County.

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

A WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in Cache County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is/may be present.

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.

Sphinx chersis, Sphinx perelegans and Sphinx vashti are quite similar. Note the dark upper thorax with wide black bars extending to the abdomen on the image of Sphinx perelegans. In Sphinx chersis the entire thorax is uniform light blue-grey with very narrow dark lines.

Sphinx vashti lacks the checkered fringe on the hindwings.

Visit Utah Catocala: Underwing Moths.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata WO, the Pink-spotted Hawk Moth: This species has not been reported in Cache County, but may be there as a stray. The moth is a very strong flier and is frequently encountered far north of its usual range.

Manduca quinquemaculata BDR/BAMONA, 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, the Carolina Sphinx: This species is not recorded in Weber County, and would be an unlikely possibility (usually more eastern). If you grow tomatoes, however, you have may have encountered it.
Larvae get very large and can strip a tomato plant.

Sphinx asellus WO, the Asella Sphinx: This species is not recorded in Weber County, but might be present (usually more southerly).
It flies in pinyon-juniper woodland and similar arid situations in Colorado (specimen type locality) and Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.

Sphinx chersis 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.

Sphinx drupiferarum BAMONA, the Wild Cherry Sphinx: This species is officially reported for Cache County. I only see them only occasionally on P.E.I. despite visiting lights frequently.

Sphinx dollii WO, the Doll's Sphinx

This species is not reported for Weber County but should be present.

It flies in arid brushlands and desert foothills.

Sphinx gordius WO, the Apple Sphinx:

This species is confirmed in nearby Weber County by James P. Tuttle, in a disjoint population from its more common eastern distribution/range. Note the pm line, absent in Sphinx poecila which flies more to the north.

The terminal area, especially near the anal angle, is much darker in Sphinx gordius than in Sphinx poecila.

Sphinx luscitiosa WO, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx

Sphinx perelegans BAMONA, the Elegant 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 vegetation. perhaps a misidentification

Sphinx vashti BAMONA, the Snowberry Sphinx: Snowberry Sphinx adults fly as a single brood in montane woodlands and along prairie streamcourses from April to August. 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 at the apex.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx modesta BAMONA, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx: This large poplar/willow feeder is found in Cache County. They are a heavy bodied species.

Pachysphinx occidentalis BAMONA, 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. Lines are more distinct in occidentalis.

Paonias excaecata WO Doubtful, 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 BAMONA, the Small-eyed Sphinx: This small species is probably probably present as it ranges across North America.

The hindwings have a small blue eyespot ringed with black on a yellow background.

Smerinthus cerisyi 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.

Smerinthus opthalmica WO

Larvae feed on poplars, aspen and willows. Note different shape of double arced forewing pm line compared to the straighter pm line of cerisyi, which it possibly replaces in northern Utah. S. ophthalmica has smoother scalloping of the fw outer margin.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

Hemaris diffinis WO, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee 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.

Hemaris thetis BAMONA, the Thetis Clearwing

Hemaris thetis is a very variable species, but almost always the abdomen sports contrasting black and yellow hairs, the ventral surface being quite black. The legs also tend to be quite dark and there is a black mask running across the eye and along the sides of the thorax.

Hemaris senta WO, the Rocky Mountain Clearwing: There is probably a single brood of this montane species from May-August. The moth is seen along streamsides and in meadows in mountainous areas. It is likely that senta is a synonym of thetis.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx: This moth is not recorded for Cache County, but it might be present wherever grapes are found.

Fight would be from June to August. Larvae feed on grape foliage.

Macroglossini Tribe:

Euproserpinus wiesti WO very doubtful; more southerly, 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.

Hyles lineata BAMONA, 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 a number of different plants. It is confirmed for Weber County by USGS.

Proserpinus clarkiae BAMONA, 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.

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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