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Image Credit: Lyn H. taken near Flaming Gorge Dam, UT
White-Lined Sphinx Moths are big, brown and abundant across the continent. They can resemble streamlined jets with their solid wings and sleek lines.
White-lined Sphinx Moth Videos
A White-lined Sphinx taking nectar from flowers
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.
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.
Scientific Name: Hyles lineata
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 63mm to 90mm (2.46in to 3.51in)
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
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.