What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Butterfly Bird
Tue, Feb 10, 2009 at 8:41 PM
10/07/06 – Phoenix, Arizona – Just past sunset – I spotted this “butterfly / hummingbird”. I remember it quite large, about the size of my fist, maybe slightly smaller (although the pictures don’t justify that) and it’s wings were moving as fast as a hummingbird. It reminded me of a humming bird in every flying sense however, it had the face of a butterfly with large antennae and beautiful (thin) wings. It let me take numerous pictures before disappearing. In many of the pictures you can see it’s long straw -like tongue.
Still Amazed
Phoenix, Arizona

White Lined Sphinx

White Lined Sphinx

Dear Still Amazed,
This is a White Lined Sphinx or Striped Morning Sphinx, Hyles lineata, one of the Hawk Moths.  It is probably the most common Hawk Moth in North America and is found in all 48 lower states.  It is a common desert species and after a rainy year, thousands of caterpillars appear.  Those years, the adult moths are also quite plentiful.  The caterpillar feeds on many plants, but fuschia is a favorite.  The adult moths are often attracted to lights where they are found resting the following day.  Moths take nectar from many flowers, including the lantana in your photo, and honeysuckle.  Your action photos are spectacular.

White Lined Sphinx

White Lined Sphinx

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

10 Responses to Striped Morning Sphinx

  1. johnnyB says:

    Hey just thought it was interesting, I’m over here in Diyala, Iraq and I found one of these White Lined Sphinx Moths flying around in my office. It’s about 2 inches in length. It seems odd that I could find one here in Iraq. If anyone knows, is there a migration pattern for these moths?

  2. Shilah says:

    Lovely! I caught one of these in the store I work at today with a fishnet (He was dive-bombing people and pinging off heads, I think he was being territorial) and took him to release in a nice flowered area where I hope he’ll be happy. When he first got into the store everyone thought he was a bird, until I managed to corner him and get him in a container so we could get a better look and take him outside.

    Those are marvelous pictures!

  3. Holly says:

    Are the catapillers posinus

  4. Hello! I photographed a striped moth with pink, which I believe is a sphinx. I photographed it with and without a ruler alongside it. Would you like the pictures? Or, if not, could I send one, at least, so you can let me know what it is for certain? I would appreciate it, but also thought you might be able to use it much moreso than I. Thanks so much,
    Roxane Shippee

  5. Hi!! I am constantly finding one striped morning sphinx moth on my front porch and i feel like its a good omen?? But yesterday it was not on the wall like it usually is but on the ground so i put it up on a stool so it wouldn’t get stepped on and its still there almost 30 hours later…what should i do?? I think its hurt or somethings wrong? what should I feed it? Where should I put it? I want to help it… xoxo!!

    • bugman says:

      Based on our own experience, sometimes a Striped Morning Sphinx that is attracted to our porch light will remain stationary for several days prior to flying away. The moths will conserve energy while waiting to mate or perhaps for other unknown reasons. Recently an individual we thought had died vanished the same day that two other individuals appears. The females may release pheromones while immobile. Our advice is to afford it some protection as you have done, by placing it where it will not be trampled, and then let nature take its course.

  6. ok great! You’re the best, thanks so much for the feedback Bugman! 🙂
    Yesterday I barely touched it and it pooped or peed out some clear liquid. I felt bad that I might have upset it…. The little guy hasn’t moved in days he’s still there this morning….i put a leaf and a tea rose by him….Lol… now 2 more guys have joined him/her but they are on the wall as they usually are. I hope he’s ok. Nature is in charge here. Thanks again and so glad i found You!

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