Last updated: April 12, 2017
Species Spotlight: White-Lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata)
April 12, 2017
The White-Lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata) has made its appearance in the park. The larvae are varied in color, but here they are black with orange spots that form lines down the body. Their head is a dark orange with lighter orange spots and they have a distinctive orange horn protruding out of their back end.
The larvae will overwinter and emerge around February – November. They are voracious eaters and will feed on a variety of plants. Currently they seem to be focused on the Wishbone Bush (Mirabilis laevis) along the Bayside Trail.
The larvae burrow into the soil when they go into the pupal stage, where the remain for 2-3 weeks before they emerge as adults. The pupae will wiggle up close to the surface to make the emergence of the adult moth easier.
The adults fly at dusk and feed on nectar, but will also fly during the day. Their wings are a dark brown with a tan stripe that extends the length of their body with distinct white lines. The Sphinx Moth’s black hindwing has a broad pink median band. They are sometimes called the Hummingbird Moth because of their 2-3 inch wingspan and erratic flight patterns around flowers.
These moths range from Central America north through Mexico and into most of the United States to Southern Canada. The timing is right for these larvae as the bloom is in full swing here at Cabrillo National Monument. Soon they will disappear underground to reemerge as adult moths.