Bug of the Month: May 2008 – Striped Morning Sphinx or White Lined Sphinx: adult and caterpillar

Question: Help! What is this bug?!
Dear Bugman,
Please help me identify this bug. I have searched all the pages on the internet for moths and cannot locate a picture that looks like this one. Thank you so much!

Hi Julie,
On our website, the Sphinx Moths, a large family, get their own pages separate from general moths. This is a White Lined Sphinx, Hyles lineata. It is one of the most common U.S. Sphinx Moths, and in desert areas the species go through cyclical population explosions. Because the California rains this season have been spread out rather than concentrated, there is lush native plant growth and we expect to continue to get reports of both the adult Striped Morning Sphinx moths and the caterpillars as well.

White Lined Sphinx Caterpillar
(03/26/2008) caterpillar picture attached
I saw this caterpillar in Anzo-Borrego Desert in southern California last week. Curious if you know what it is. Pictures attached.

Hi Paul,
With the desert wildflowers being so spectacular this year, there is plenty of food for plant eaters like caterpillars. We expect to get numerous queries regarding your species, the White Lined Sphinx or Striped Morning Sphinx, Hyles lineata. The caterpillars of this species are highly variable and become quite numerous at times. They were eaten by Native Americans and still are eaten by some adventuresome modern Americans as well.

3 thoughts on “Bug of the Month: May 2008 – Striped Morning Sphinx or White Lined Sphinx: adult and caterpillar”

  1. I have a caterpillar that is about 3″ long, smooth, with 11 segments and an orange horn on its tail. It has no false eyes. It has four lateral rows of black spots, with yellow center in the two rows of black spots just below each side of the dorsum. It sorta resembles the white-lined sphinx, but has not lines. Please suggest species I should consider as its identification.

  2. We had many of these White-lined Sphinx Moths on the Indian Pink Bush, but not for the last few years here in Escondido, No. San Diego Co.


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