Created, inspired by and dedicated to Zana Goulding, August, 2005; June 25, 2012
Updated as per Butterflies and Moths of North America website, formerly USGS, August 2005
Updated as per personal communication with Kevin Brown (Arctonotus lucidus); March 2010
Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 8, 2010
Updated for Hemaris thetis, July 8, 2010, replacing H. diffinis; probably H. senta is also H. thetis.
Updated as per personal communication with Erin Parker (Sphinx drupiferarum, Spokane, June 12, 2010); July 8, 2010 Updated for Hyles euphorbiae, Spokane, Spokane, Washington, as per personal communication with David Droppers (BAMONA)
Updated as per personal communication with Billie Carter (Smerinthus ophthalmica, Spokane, July 13, 2014); July 15, 2014

Spokane County, Washington

Pachysphinx occidentalis, Spokane, Washington, August 12, 2005, courtesy of Zana Goulding.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to Zana Goulding who sent me the image of Pachysphinx modesta/occidentalis ?? at the top of the page. Zana also reports Hyles lineata on August 11, 2005 and August 20, 2005.

In 2006 Zana reports Pachysphinx modesta June 28; Hyles lineata mid June; Smerinthus ophthalmica late June.

Hopefully I have accurately determined Zana's moth to be P. occidentalis based on stronger maculations on the forewing, particularly in the basal area (antemedial line). The very similar P. modesta has a paler, indistinct marking in the basal area as opposed to the darker, more distinct irregular line of P. occidentalis. The moth depicted, however, also has characters more in line with P. modesta.

In June of 2012 Zana sent me a nice image of underside of a Smerinthus ophthalmica male. Zana writes, "Hi Bill, found this one on the garage today, it was too high up for me to get any real good shots. It did appear to have some sort of eye and pinkish color on the underwing; maybe 1.5 inches long in the body."

Smerinthus ophthalmica male (verso), Spokane, Spokane County, Washington,
June 24, 2012, courtesy of Zana Goulding

Thanks also to Kevin Brown who encountered many Arctonotus lucidus (now Proserpinus lucidus) in Mica, Spokane County, in early March 2010.

Proserpinus lucidus, Mica, Spokane County, Washington,
March 1, 2010, courtesy of Kevin Brown.

Kevin writes, Wednesday, March 3, 2010, "Hello,

"I work at a Spokane County shop in Mica, WA. Often during the year in the morning there are various insects on the metal siding, presumably for warmth.

"Monday, March 1, was warm in the 50s, and whan I came to work there were three sphinx moths on the sidewalk. They haven't moved since. Tuesday morning there were 5 more all close to the building foundation."

I replied, "Hi Kevin,

"They are probably being attracted by a night security light. I would love to see pictures if you have a digital camera."

On July 7, 2010, I received the following image of Sphinx drupiferarum courtesy of Erin Parker, from Spokane. Erin writes: "I took this photo a few weeks ago, 6-12-2010. It was on my porch for almost two weeks just sitting there. I'm in Spokane, WA.

"Can you tell me anything about it?"

I identified the moth and indicated it probably had been mesmerized by lights.

Sphinx drupiferarum, Spokane, Spokane County, Washington,
June 12, 2010, courtesy of Erin Parker.

Billie Carter writes, July 14, 2014, "I live in Spokane, WA, and yesterday I found a moth on the ground along the curbing that borders our flower beds. It was a very hot day, about 97į, and it was in the shade of our birch tree. The outside edge of each of the wings was about 2 ĹĒ. I tried to get some clear photos, but they didnít turn out as well as I would have liked. Iíve attached the best two. Could it have been laying eggs? Is it a Pachysphinx occidentalis? Any info would be welcome!

I reply, "This one is Smerinthus ophthalmica a close relative of Pachysphinx occidentalis. I suspect it was drawn to house lights and simply came to rest in the location you mention. This species does not feed as an adult moth. It does appear to be a female, and it may have been laying eggs on the birch tree you mention. The adult moths usually only live for about 7-10 days, and it may have simply expired where you found it. There is more info on the ophthalmica file which can be accessed via the thumbnail checklist below. Thanks for thinking of me."

Smerinthus ophthalmica, Spokane, Spokane County, Washington,
July 13, 2014, courtesy of Billie Carter.

Seventeen Sphingidae species are listed for Washington. Not all of the species are reported or anticipated in Spokane County. It is hoped that this checklist, with the thumbnails and notes, will help you quickly identify the moths you have encountered.

A "WO" after the species name indicates that I have no confirmed reports of this species in Spokane County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present. A USGS (now BAMONA) 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.

Visit: Spokane County: Sphingidae larvae (caterpillars).

Visit Washington: Catocala (underwng moths).

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini tribe:

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, Five-spotted Hawkmoth: This species is probably present (unreported) and larvae feed on tomatoes and go by the common name of "Tomato Hornworms".

Sphinx drupiferarum USGS/EP, the Wild Cherry Sphinx: This species is reported on the USGS for Spokane County. I only see them occasionally on P.E.I. despite visiting lights frequently.

Sphinx drupiferarum, Spokane, June 12, 2010, Erin Parker

Sphinx perelegans USGS, 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.

Sphinx vashti WO, 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.

Smerinthini Tribe:

Pachysphinx modesta WO/ZG, the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx: This large poplar/willow feeder probably flies in Spokane County. They are a heavy bodied species.

Pachysphinx modesta, Zana Goulding, June 29, 2006; Spokane

Pachysphinx occidentalis ZG/USGS, the Big Poplar Sphinx: This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta being smaller and darker. There may be naturally occuring hybrids in Spokane.

Pachysphinx occidentalis, Zana Goulding, August 12, 2005, August 1, 2011; Spokane

Paonias excaecata USGS, 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 widespread and common. This species ranges across North America.

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

Smerinthus opthalmica MPNw/ZG/BCLarvae feed on poplars, aspen and willows. Note different shape of double arced forewing pm line compared to the straighter pm line of cerisyi, directly above. S. ophthalmica has smoother scalloping of the fw outer margin.

Smerinthus ophthalmica, Zana Goulding, late June, 2006; June 24, 2012, Spokane
Smerinthus ophthalmica, Billie Carter, July 13, 2014, Spokane

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini tribe

Hemaris thetis WO, the Thetis Clearwing Moth or Bee Hawk Moth

Although not officially reported from Spokane, this day flying moth is widely distributed in Washington.

I suspect I will get reports from Spokane County.

Macroglossini tribe

Hyles euphorbiae DD; BAMONA, the Spurge Hawk Moth
The body is light brown with various white and dark brown markings, while the wings have a conspicuous tan, brown, and pink or red color pattern.

Hyles gallii USGS, the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx

This species is officially reported from Spokane County; if you have Gallium or Epilobium, you probably have populations of this species.

Hyles lineata ZG/USGS, 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.

Hyles lineata, Zana Goulding, August 11, 2005, Spokane
Hyles lineata, Zana Goulding, August, 20, 2005, Spokane
Hyles lineata, Zana Goulding, mid June, 2006, Spokane

Proserpinus clarkiae USGS, Clark's Sphinx

This day flier is officially reported from Spokane County, April-June, prefering oak woodland and pine-oak woodland in foothills. 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 Spokane, but it has been found to the north, east, south and west in meadows near coniferous forests.

Proserpinus lucidus WO/KB/ZG, the Pacific Green Sphinx Moth or Bear Sphinx: Found to the northwest, east and south, this species is probably present. It tends to be an early spring flier, on the wing in the early evening. It comes to lights at night.

Proserpinus lucidus, Mica, Spokane County, Washington, March 1, 2010, courtesy of Kevin Brown.
Proserpinus lucidus, Spokane, Washington, March, 2011, courtesy of Zana Goulding.

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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