Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, July 20, 2011
Updated as per BAMONA; July 20, 2011
Walla Walla County, Washington
Seventeen Sphingidae species are listed for Washington. Not all of
the species are reported or anticipated in Walla Walla. 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 your county, but I
(William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present. A "BAM"
indicates the moth is reported in USGS (now BAMONA) 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.
I have also consulted the range distribution maps in James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, 2007, a highly recommended reference
for anyone interested in North American Sphingidae.
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 reported in Yakima and larvae feed
on tomatoes and go by the common name of
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 of which reaches the wing tip. It is questionable for Yakima.
This species is reported in Yakima.
I only see them occasionally on P.E.I. despite visiting lights frequently.
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.
Pachysphinx modesta WO,
the Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,
This large poplar/willow feeder is probably quite common in Walla Walla.
They are a heavy bodied species.
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.
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
If you have willows and poplars nearby, you've probably got populations of
the Cerisyi's Sphinx.
The hindwings are quite striking.
Larvae 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.
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.
WO, 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.
WO, 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. It is not yet confirmed for this county, but is expanding its range
and will probably soon be reported.
Hyles gallii WO,
the Bedstraw Hawk Moth or Gallium Sphinx
This species is not officially reported from Yakima County, but if you have
Gallium or Epilobium, you probably have populations of
Hyles lineata USGS, the White-lined
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.
flier, April-June, prefering oak woodland and pine-oak woodland in
foothills, is reported in Yakima County. Moths nectar at a variety of flowers
in the afternoon.
Proserpinus flavofasciata WO,
the Yellow-banded Day Sphinx
This species is not officially reported from Walla Walla, but it is
found to the north, east and south and
may be present. It nectars during the day in meadows near coniferous forests.
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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