White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the White-lined Sphinx Moth.
Updated: 1/5/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.