Updated as per James P. Tuttle's The Hawk Moths of North America, February 12, 2011
Dedicated/updated as per personal communication with Greg Volkman (Arctonotus lucidus, Rufus, February 8, 2011): February 12, 2011
Arctonotus lucidus recently (2009) assigned to the Proserpinus genus. VOLUME 63, NUMBER 4 233 Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society 63(4), 2009, 233-235; 2018
Updated as per personal communication with Kathy Thompson (Proserpinus lucidus, February 7, 2018): February 14, 2018

Sherman County, Oregon


Arctonotus/Proserpinus lucidus, Rufus, Sherman County, Oregon,
February 8, 2011, courtesy of Greg Volkman.

This page is dedicated to Greg Volkman who has sent the images of Arctonotus lucidus at top and bottom of this page.

Greg writes, February 12, 2011: "I found this little guy resting on the cold concrete with the air temperature right around freezing. I don't really think of February as being moth weather so I moved him to a sunny location on a nearby tree. I hope he recovered enough to do what he had to do. What a beautiful little animal! The wing linings were almost gold. It is a shame so many people hate insects across the board and don't think twice about using the sprays or the bug lights. I'm 53 now and I certainly don't see the numbers or the diversity I saw as a child.

"I have these and a couple other images in higher resolution if you are interested. I would be happy to send them to you."

Twenty-three Sphingidae species are listed in the USGS for Oregon. Not all of the species are reported (five by USGS) or anticipated in Sherman 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 Sherman County, but I (William Oehlke) expect that this moth is present.

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.

It is always interesting/amazing to me that some species seem to have such regular flight periods. Twice I have received images of Arctonotus lucidus from Sherman County, Oregon: February 8, 2011, and February 7, 2018.

Kathy Thompson writes regarding Arctonotus lucidus, "About 20 or more of these hawk moths were in the gravel beneath our shop’s night light. Strange to see so many in February… but it is 62° with a light breeze."

I reply, "Thanks for sending the beautiful images and data. I suspect there may have been a freshly emerged female nearby, and males, possibly from a considerable distance, even beyond the expanse of the light, may have picked up her scent, flew towards the airborne phermone, and then got atttracted to and mesmerized by the light. It is also quite possible that you have a mix of males and females which simply responded identically to the same environmental conditions and all emerged within a couple of days of each other."

Proserpinus lucidus, Sherman County, Oregon,
February 8, 2018, Kathy Thompson

Proserpinus lucidus, Sherman County, Oregon,
February 8, 2018, Kathy Thompson

Proserpinus lucidus, Sherman County, Oregon,
February 8, 2018, Kathy Thompson

The third of Kathy's images (the one directly above) is especially interesting as the shape of the outer margin of each forewing seems to be different. Could it be the camera angle, a deformity, normal variation, a gyandromorphic clue?

Sphinginae subfamily

Sphingini Tribe:

Manduca quinquemaculatus WO, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth

This large bodied moth flies in tobacco fields and vegetable gardens (potatoes, tomatoes) and wherever host plants are found.

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.

Sphinx drupiferarum WO, the Wild Cherry Sphinx

Although not reported from Sherman County, I suspect it is present. I only see them occasionally on P.E.I. despite visiting lights frequently.

Sphinx perelegans WO, the Elegant Sphinx

Sphinx perelegans adults fly in montane woodlands and mixed chaparral-type vegetation as a single brood in the north, with adults mainly on the wing in June and July.

It flies from dusk until after midnight.

Sphinx vashti WO, 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 occidentalis USGS, the Big Poplar Sphinx

This one is quite similar to Pachysphinx modesta, with modesta being smaller and darker.

They are confirmed in Sherman County.

Paonias excaecata WO, the Blinded Sphinx,

The outer margin of the forewing is quite wavy. There is a dark cell spot and a dark oblique line mid wing from the costa almost to the inner margin. Basic ground colour is pinkish brown.

Flight would be June-July.

Paonias myops USGS, 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 cerisyi WO, 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.

Smerinthus opthalmica MPNw

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.

Macroglossinae subfamily

Dilophonotini Tribe:

Hemaris thetis WO, the Thetis Clearwing or Bee Hawk 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.

Macroglossini Tribe:

Arctonotus/Proserpinus lucidus GV/, the Pacific Green Sphinx Moth or Bear Sphinx

This species is now confirmed in Sherman County.
It tends to be a winter to early spring flier, on the wing in the early evening. It comes to lights at night and can fly at temperatures at least as low as 35 F (EW). Now considered a Proserpinus species.

Arctonotus lucidus, Rufus, February 8, 2011, courtesy of Greg Volkman
proserpinus lucidus, February 8, 2018, courtesy of Kathy Thompson

Hyles lineata WO, the White-lined Sphinx

Adults usually fly at dusk, during the night, and at dawn, but they also fly during the day over a wide variety of open habitats including deserts, suburbs, and gardens.

Proserpinus clarkiae WO, 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.

Proserpinus flavofasciata WO, the Yellow-banded Day Sphinx,

Proserpinus flavofasciata adults fly from April-June in meadows in coniferous forests. Adults fly during the afternoon, nectaring from lilac, dandelion, cherry, etc.

Arctonotus lucidus, Rufus, Sherman County, Oregon,
February 8, 2011, courtesy of Greg Volkman.

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