Pierce County, Washington
Seventeen Sphingidae species are listed for Washington. Not all of
the species are reported or anticipated in Pierce County
in southwestern Washington. It is hoped that
this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you
quickly identify the moths you have encountered.
The Cascades seem to be a barrier to some of the more eastern species.
indicates the moth is reported in USGS 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.
A "WO" after the species name indicates that
I have no confirmed reports of this species in Pierce County, but I
(William Oehlke) expect that this moth is or
might be present.
Please help me develop this list with improved, documented accuracy by
sending sightings (species, date, location), preferably with an
image, via email to
This species is possibly present (unreported) and larvae feed on
tomatoes and go by the common name of
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
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
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 might be present in Pierce County.
They are a heavy bodied species.
The grey-blue eyespot (without a black center pupil) 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.
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 replaces in WA.
S. ophthalmica has smoother scalloping of the fw outer margin.
USGS, the Snowberry Clearwing or
This species is officially reported from Pierce Co., and this day
flying moth is widely distributed in Washington.
Bob Pyle writes, "Hyles gallii, bedstraw sphinx: 1
fresh individual perched on lupine at the end of Bald
Prairie Rd, , 11 mi. S. of Yelm, Pierce Co., 26 June 2006.
Netted, photographed, released."
the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx
This species is now reported from Pierce County, and if
you have Gallium or Epilobium, you probably have
localized populations of this species.
USGS, the White-lined Sphinx
This species is 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.
This day flier, April-June, prefers 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 officially reported from Pierce and in
southwestern British Columbia 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.
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