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Galium Sphinx Moth (Hyles gallii)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Galium Sphinx Moth.

 Updated: 12/7/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Knife-like clean lines and smooth edges on the wings of the Galium Sphinx help this moth cut through the air in flight.



Like other Sphinx Moths, the Galium Sphinx is larger than the typical moth. It is a strong flier, and may also be called a Hawkmoth. The Galium, or Gallium, Sphinx has a modern look about it. The contoured wings are brown with a ivory/tan line that starts at the middle base and shoots out to the very tips of the forewings. Wisps of ivory rise from this line. It resembles its relatives, the Spurge Hawkmoth and the White-lined Sphinx, but is less ornate. Cream-colored hindwings peak out from under the forewings and show a burst of bright pink or red bordered by black bands when fully extended. The furry brown thorax has a thin line of ivory hairs on each side of it. The thick abdomen has short, ivory side stripes, and tiny ivory dots running down its 'spine'. The abdomen tapers to a point at its tip.

This species is named after the family of plants that its caterpillars feed on, Galium. This includes weedy plants like bedstraw, willow weed, woodruff, and godetia. They also feed on evening primrose. Caterpillars are shiny and smooth. Individuals may be light brown, dark brown, or even green with have reddish heads and rear ends. The body has rows of white spots running the length of it, with the last set of spots stretching toward a harmless red, or black, horn at the rear. These caterpillars are sometimes seen crossing roads, almost blending in with weathered asphalt.

Look for adults in the daytime during the summer as they visit the flowers of monarda (bee balm), bergamot, phlox, butterfly bushes, and other nectar-rich blossoms. Their ability to hover over plants and blooms may lead to one mistaking them for a small bird.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sphingidae
          Genus: Hyles
            Species: gallii
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Hyles gallii
Other Name(s): Gallium Sphinx Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 38mm to 50mm (1.48in to 1.95in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, ivory, tan, pink, black
Descriptors: sharp angle, pointed wings, pink underneath, flying, V shape, Tersa-like
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
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
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
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Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
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Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
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Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.