Whitelined Sphinx

Subject: What is it?
Location: San Diego, CA
March 18, 2015 9:45 pm
Found this in our kitchen tonight. Six year old is studying insects in science now and doing a report on dragonflies. Curious what this critter is.
Signature: The Duncans

Whitelined Sphinx
Whitelined Sphinx

Dear Duncans,
Alas your child cannot use these images to illustrate a report on Dragonflies as it is a Sphinx Moth, more specifically a Whitelined Sphinx,
Hyles lineata.  Like dragonflies, Whitelined Sphinx Moths are very aerodynamic in flight and they are often mistaken for hummingbirds.  Whitelined Sphinx Moths are currently flying in Southern California.  This is a species that periodically experiences population explosions that tend to coincide with years when there is lush desert growth.  The rain patter this winter, though we are still firmly entrenched in a drought, was so wide spread that it was conducive to a lush desert growth, and we expect it to be a big year for both Caterpillars and adult Whitelined Sphinx Moth.

Whitelined Sphinx
Whitelined Sphinx

Thanks so much for the info.  My daughter was excited to read your email.  We didn’t really think it was a dragonfly, but have had insects on the brain.  We appreciate your work!

2 thoughts on “Whitelined Sphinx”

  1. We’ve had several of these in our HOME in Santa Ana, CA and my sister thought it was a hummingbird two nights ago (was able to get it back outside the next morning). I also found the caterpillar and spent ages looking it up but wasn’t able to identify until this morning when we were looking up hummingbirds and saw a picture of the moth references it’s confusion as a hummingbird. Then I looked up the caterpillar, which I thought as the ugliest I’ve ever seen. I raise monarchs so I was extremely curious what it was. I just left it alone. Doesn’t it pupate underground? I found several of the casings when I dug in the garden. Anyway, many sitings here!


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