Subject: Hemaris question
Location: Cleveland National Forest in Riverside County at about 2000 feet.
July 5, 2013 12:40 pm
I presume this is a Hemaris species. I took the photos in the Cleveland National Forest in Riverside County at about 2000 feet. What species is this in Southern California?
According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website, the only species of Hemaris that lives in California is Hemaris thetis, the Bee Hawk Moth. Bill Oehlke gives this explanation: “Those Sphingidae west of the continental divide (western Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, California, Arizona, western Wyoming, western Colorado, western New Mexico), previously thought to be H. diffinis are now determined to be the recently elevated species, Hemaris thetis. It is my understanding that the moths described as H. senta also belong to H. thetis as thetis was described (Boisduval, 1855) before senta was described [Strecker, 1878].” Your photos are quite stunning. We are copying Bill Oehlke as he may want to record your sighting and he may ask for permission to use your images on his comprehensive site as well.
Bill Oehlke confirms identification
As far as I know the information you quoted is still current and accurate. It looks like Hemaris thetis to me.
My Riverside County thumbnail checklist is at
I wish Doug’s permission to post the image, credited to him, on the Riverside page.
Thanks for the information!
You are welcome to go ahead and post the images.
If you need a more specific location, the photo was taken along the road towards Blue Jay Campground, off Highway 74.