Currently viewing the category: "Hummingbird Moths, Sphinx Moths or Hawk Moths"
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Morning sphinx?
My kindergarten class is currently studying insects and we need your help. I just happen to catch this one on video and digital format in the early evening. I live in the north Dallas area in Hickory Creek, Texas. This moth was savoring the nectar from my Indian Hawthorne bushes in bloom! On another point, I need your help in saving my mature oak tree from caterpillars this year. Last year, the entire tree was covered with gobs of webs! I am afraid my tree may die and it is also very annoying to have these clumps falling down on my patio and yard. Is there some type of treatment I can administer to the root system? The tree is too large to spray and there are way too many places to treat.
Loretta Lee
Lake Dallas Primary Kindergarten

Hi Loretta,
Your moth is indeed a Striped Morning Sphinx or White Lined Sphinx, Hyles lineata. it is probably the most common Sphinx Moth in North America with a coast to coast distribution. We know of no systemic for caterpillar control. Caterpillar populations are frequently cyclic, culminating in a year of overpopulations before the numbers stabilize once again. Caterpillars eat leaves, and this will not seriously impact the health of a mature tree.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi Bugman,
We photographed this moth today on the back porch of our house on Edwards Air Force Base California. We’re in the western Mojave desert. I’ve been unable to find a resource to identify it and was hoping you could help. Wingtip to wingtip was about 7 inches.
William and Sara Wilson
Edwards AFB, CA

Hi William and Sara,
This is the second image we received today of a Big Poplar Sphinx, Pachysphinx occidentalis, also known as the Western Poplar Sphinx, from California.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s this moth?
Hello there,
I live in Bakersfield, CA. When I was out at a horse farm, resting on a juniper was this very large moth, of which I have never seen before! I am trying to look it up, and I’m guessing it is a type of Sphinx, but was wondering which
kind, and abit of info. on it. Sure would love the help – it was so lovely! Sincerely,

Hi Karen,
Your Sphinx, Pachysphinx occidentalis, is called the Big Poplar Sphinx by Bill Oehlke, but we have also seen it called the Western Poplar Sphinx in other publications including BugGuide. It is found in riparian areas where the caterpillar food plants, willow and poplar grow. The species ranges in the western U.S. and Canada into Baja California. According to BugGuide, adults fly ifrom May to September in the southern part of the range, so we are guessing the unseasonal rains in California in fall 2007 have resulted in an early emergance this year.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

mysterious beauty
I’m a librarian, and a patron submitted this photo to me and asked if I could identify it. I looked in books and online for hours and am still stumped. I’m not even sure if this is a moth or butterfly, and I can’t find a match anywhere. Any ideas? Thanks!

Hi Marco,
This is a Nessus Sphinx, Amphion floridensis, one of the sphinx moths in the family Sphingidae. It is a diurnal moth that flies until dusk. Where are you located?

Sorry – I just realized I left that out. This was taken this morning in the person’s backyard down here in Richmond, Texas (just outside of Houston). Thanks for the reply.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

really sharp waved sphinx(?) pics with better angle on head
We encountered what I think is a waved sphinx moth in Honolulu Hawaii the other day. I’ve attached a few pictures that are considerably sharper than the ones on your site – might help future people identify – especially the dark markings around the head, which are much more prominent when seen from the side. This was quite an experience for our 5-year old, who discovered it, and learned that it hisses (loudly) when irritated. Love your website! Aloha

Hi David,
We disagree with your identification. We believe this to be a Gray Privet Hawkmoth, Psilogramma menephron, which unlike the Waved Sphinx, can be found on the Hawaiian Islands. Check out Bill Oehlke’s site for additional information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cool Moth
I live near Los Angeles, CA and saw this fella laying some eggs on a tire of a car the other day and thought I would take some pictures of it. It was sitting totally still and I wanted to see if I could get a closer look. I decided to see if I could get it to spread its wings a little so I took a little twig and touched its wing. To my surprise it spread its wings and started dancing about. It showed these really cool markings on it’s inner wing that looked like big eyes. The inner wings were brightly colored compared to the rest of its brown body. It was sure cool to see. I wanted to see what kind of moth it was and stumbled across your site. I am hoping you will be able answer my question. Best Regards,

Hi Mike,
We believe this is a One Eyed Sphinx, Smerinthus cerisyi, sometimes called Cerisy’s Sphinx. This species is found in California, but we thought it was limited to the more northern parts of the state. Your moth also resembles the Salicet Sphinx, Smerinthus saliceti, which is found in San Diego county and points south. Our money is on the former, the One Eyed Sphinx, but the two moths look remarkable similar. We may try to contact Bill Oehlke to see if he has a definitive answer.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination