Subject: I’ve lived here for 40 years. Never noticed anything like her before now. What us she?!?
Location: Wildomar, CA USA.. Southwest Riverside County
October 3, 2016 6:58 am
Good morning. We have had a visitor on our garage. She was laying eggs for more than 2 days. She arrived in the late hours on last day of September. She was gone on the morning of October 3. I’ve never seen anything like her before. Please help us identify her. Also, any infornation on how to ensure her little ones the best possible start would be great! We have become oddly attached to all their welfare in the last couple days. She is about 2.5 to 3 inches long and about 1.5 inches tall.
Signature: Molly W.
This is a Hubbard’s Small Silkmoth, Sphingicampa hubbardi, and it is not a common species in California. BugGuide lists the range as “Extreme eastern California, southern Nevada and southern Arizona to western Texas” but BugGuide has no records from California. According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on Wright’s acacia, honey mesquite and catclaw acacia.” Hopefully you have some native acacia plants in the vicinity and you can transfer the caterpillars to the plants when they hatch. Though there are several similar looking species in the genus found in the Southwest, to the best of our knowledge, this is the only species found in California. The caterpillars are also quite impressive. We will send your images to Bill Oehlke for verification, and we hope you allow him to post your images to his own very comprehensive site as he has no images of eggs posted.
Post her eggs to your heart’s content. I will purchase the necessary Acacia for her babies in the morning, as we have none in the area. Thank you so much for your help!
If you are successful at rearing the caterpillars, we would love to continue postings of the life cycle of Hubbard’s Small Silkmoths.
I’ll do my best. How long until the eggs are expected to hatch? What shall I purchase to increase the odds? These eggs are on the side of the garage. I can’t imagine it the right environment. Also, more moths are in the area. We have now seen about 4 of them. So I expect more eggs in the near future. 🙂 I have more moths. Two more laying eggs. Our friend has one, too. The other moth is in La Cresta. They are very far from their normal home, yes?
We suspect the eggs should hatch within two weeks. If you have so many adult moths, there must be a nearby food plant. As we stated earlier, California is considered part of the normal range, but there are always pockets within the ranges of insects where populations are higher as well as areas where a species is absent.