Insect Identification
Insect Identification

White-lined Sphinx Moth - (Hyles lineata)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 1/5/2016

White-Lined Sphinx Moths are big, brown and abundant across the continent. They can resemble streamlined jets with their solid wings and sleek lines.

Sphinx moths are larger than most moths and the White-Lined Sphinx Moth is no exception. Their forewings are mostly brown, but each has a thick white line that extends from the base (by the head) to the tip of the wing. Thin white lines cross this thicker one in spaced intervals from the left to the right side of each forewing. The tops of the hindwings each have a flash of bright pink that is only visible when the moth completely spreads its forewings ('top' wings) open.

The White-Lined Sphinx Moth hovers over flowers, much like a bird, and can be found in a variety of habitats. It is very hairy so it could be mistaken as a small bird if not closely observed. See a White-Lined Sphinx Moth in flight while it visits flowers here:

The species is active both day and at night. They are attracted to lights and many of them may congregate together at a light source at night.

The caterpillar comes in a wide variety of colors. A more mature caterpillar is horned and can be black with yellow lines on the sides. The immature caterpillar is known to feed on a large variety of plants, but more mature ones tend to prefer evening primrose and roses.

This species is known to have population explosions in drier country. Its enormous range covers most of North America.

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Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common name: White-lined Sphinx Moth
Scientific Name: Hyles lineata

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Lepidoptera
      Family: Sphingidae
       Genus: Hyles
        Species: lineata

Adult Size (Length): 63mm to 90mm (2.48in to 3.54in)

Identifying Colors: brown; white; black; ivory; pink; tan

Additional Descriptors: stripe, pink, large, flying

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.