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White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the White-lined Sphinx Moth



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Image Credit: Melissa C. from Battle Creek, MI
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Image Credit: Karen T. from T-Square Ranch, Catron County, NM
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Image Credit: Rusty C. from East Dundee, IL
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Image Credit: Robin P. from Holland, MI
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Image Credit: Ilona P. from Stayton, OR
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Image Credit: D. and D.M.
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Image Credit: Robin P. from Holland, MI
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Image Credit: Michael T. from Grosse Point, MI
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Image Credit: Robin P. from Holland, MI
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Image Credit: Alan S. from Long Grove, IL
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Image Credit: Robin P. from Holland, MI
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Image Credit: Lyn H. taken near Flaming Gorge Dam, UT
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Image Credit: Ralph L. from Black Hawk, SD
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Image Credit: Jerry Gildemeister
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Image Credit: Jane P. from Tucson, AZ
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Streamlined and sleek White-lined Sphinx Moths are big, brown, and abundant across the continent.



Updated: 09/13/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 out toward the tip of the wing. Thin white lines cross this thicker one in spaced intervals from left to right. The tops of the hindwings have a flash of bright pink that is only visible when the moth completely spreads its forewings open.

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

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




Known Diet of the White-lined-Sphinx-Moth



purslane; primrose; rose


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sphingidae
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          Genus: Hyles
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            Species: lineata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Hyles lineata
Other Name(s): Purslane Caterpillar
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 63mm to 90mm (2.48" to 3.54")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; white; black; ivory; pink; tan
Descriptors: stripe, pink, large, flying

White-lined-Sphinx-Moth Video(s)




A White-lined Sphinx in slow motion, courtesy of Troy D..
A White-lined Sphinx taking nectar from flowers.
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 63mm (2.5in) and 90mm (3.5in)
Lo: 63mm
Md: 76.5mm
Hi: 90mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
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State of Delware graphic
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State of Maine graphic
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State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
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State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the White-lined Sphinx Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the White-lined Sphinx Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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