Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 24, 2010
Updated as per Butterflies and Moths of North America website, formerly USGS; July 24, 2010
Skamania County, Washington
Hyles lineata, Gifford Pinchot National Forest,
Skamania County, Washington,
August 3, 2005, courtesy/copyright
Seventeen Sphingidae species are listed for Washington. Not all of
the species are reported or anticipated in Skamania County (three as of July 24, 2010 on USGS)
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
A "WO" after the species name indicates that
I have no confirmed reports of this species in Skamania 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
The USGS indicates the Bedstraw hawkmoth (Hyles gallii),
Snowberry clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) and
Great ash sphinx (Sphinx chersis) has been recorded in
This page is inspired by and dedicated to John Davis who
has provided the beautiful images at the top and bottom of this page.
John is a nature photographer who has also provided images
North American Catocala site,
and the World's Largest Saturniidae Site.
This species is possibly present (unreported) and larvae feed on tomatoes and go by the common name of
Sphinx chersis USGS, 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 of which reaches the wing tip.
There is a broad greyish-white forewing costal area. Most of the rest of the forewing is a dark slate grey
with some thin black streaks. There are some white areas near the outer margin.
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
WO, unlikely, generally more easterly, 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.
Pachysphinx occidentalis WO,
the Big Poplar Sphinx.
This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta
being smaller and darker.
If you've got willows or poplars nearby, then you probably have
occidentalis in your immediate area.
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.
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.
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.
It s sometimes difficult to distinguish between some of the Hemaris species. Hemaris thysbe
in southwestern Washington would be a surprise. Tuttle indicates it possibly flies in northern Washington.
Hemaris thysbe JD; possible error, the Hummingbird Clearwing.
Many gardeners mistake this moth for a small hummingbird as it
hovers, sipping nectar from flowers through a long feeding tube.
Flight is probably from late May-July and possibly again in the fall.
Hyles gallii USGS,
the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx
This species is officially reported from Skamania County. If
you have Gallium or Epilobium, you probably have
localized populations of this species.
Hyles lineata JD, 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.
Although not officially reported from Skamania County, this day flier,
April-June, prefering oak woodland and pine-oak woodland in foothills,
is possibly present. Moths nectar at a variety of flowers in the afternoon.
Proserpinus flavofasciata WO,
the Yellow-banded Day Sphinx
This day flier is not officially reported from Skamania, but it has
been found to the south in northwestern Oregon 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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