Dedicated as per personal communication with Bill Anderson, (Pachysphinx occidentalis; July 18, 2014); July 18, 2014
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 19, 2014
Updated as per BAMONA, July 18, 2014

Weber County, Utah


Pachysphinx occidentalis, North Ogden, Weber County, Utah,
July 18, 2014, courtesy of Bill Anderson.

This page is dedicated to Bill Anderson who supplies the Pachysphinx occidentalis image at the top of the page.

Bill writes, "I found this moth in my office this morning and wanted to know what kind of moth it was. I used image search and discovered your Web site saying it is a Big Poplar Sphinx. I am located in North Ogden, Utah."

Twenty-five Sphingidae species are listed in the USGS for Utah. Not all of the species are reported by USGS [now BAMONA] (nine species as of May 26, 2008) or anticipated in Weber 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 Weber 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 Weber 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 USGS, 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 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 drupiferarum USGS, the Wild Cherry Sphinx: This species is officially reported for Weber 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 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 USGS, the Canadian Sphinx or Clemen's Sphinx: This one is reported from Weber County.

Sphinx vashti USGS, 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 WO, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx: This large poplar/willow feeder is possibly in Weber County, but is more likely replaced there by the following species. They are a heavy bodied species.

Pachysphinx occidentalis USGS/BA, 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.

Pachysphinx occidentalis, North Ogden, July 18, 2014, Bill Anderson

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 WO, 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 USGS, 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 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 senta USGS, 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.

Philampelini Tribe:

Eumorpha achemon WO, the Achemon Sphinx: This moth is not recorded for Weber 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 USGS, 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 USGS, 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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