Inspired by and dedicated to Shanese Myrick and Miquel Hill (Pachysphinx occidentalis, Orem); July 3, 2013
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 3, 2013
Updated as per BAMONA, July 3, 2013

Utah County, Utah


Pachysphinx occidentalis male, Orem, Utah County, Utah,
July 2, 2013, courtesy of Miquel Hill via Shanese Myrick.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Shanese Myrick and Miquel Hill. Shanese has sent the Pachysphinx occidentalis image above, courtesy of phtotgrapher Miquel Hill, from Orem, July 3, 2013.

Twenty-four Sphingidae species are listed on BAMONA for Utah. Not all of the species are reported by BAMONA (fifteen species as of July 3, 2013) or anticipated in Utah 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 Utah County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is/may be present.

A BAMONA indicates the moth is reported on the BANMONA 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 your sightings to BAMONA, an excellent online resource.

Sphinx chersis, and Sphinx vashti are quite similar. 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.

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Agrius cingulata BAMONA, the Pink-spotted Hawk Moth
This species has been reported in Utah County, but would be there only as a stray.
The moth is a very strong flier and is frequently encountered far north of its usual range.

Manduca quinquemaculatus 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 Utah County, and would be an unlikely possibility (usually more eastern in Utah). 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 Utah 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 dollii BAMONA, the Doll's Sphinx

It flies in arid brushlands and desert foothills.

Sphinx drupiferarum BAMONA, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

This species is officially reported for Utah County. I only see them only occasionally on P.E.I. despite visiting lights frequently.

Sphinx gordius BAMONA, the Apple Sphinx

This species is confirmed in 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 BAMONA, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx

This one is reported from Utah County.

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 possibly in Weber 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.

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.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

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.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx

This moth is not recorded for Utah 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.

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.

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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.

Enjoy one of nature's wonderments: Live Saturniidae (Giant Silkmoth) cocoons.