White-Lined Sphinx Moth – A Very Cool Insect!

white-lined sphinx moth

Look at that long proboscis as it moves close to get some nectar.

A white-lined sphinx moth is a common hummingbird moth of the Rocky Mountains.  Here are 6 fun facts about this neat animal.

Have you ever spent time in the Rocky Mountains walking through or gazing over a meadow of wildflowers?  If you have then there is a chance you have seen this moth and not even realized what you were looking at.  This moth is called a ‘hummingbird moth’ because it resembles a hummingbird in the way it flies.

white-lined sphinx moth

Photo via Flickr.

6 Fun Facts About The White-Lined Sphinx Moth

This is the most common of the ‘hummingbird moths’.  These moths all have a large body and smaller wings, which means they need to beat their wings fast to fly.  They resemble hummingbirds when they fly and because they are able to hover in mid-air.

It is most often seen in the later afternoon and around sunset as it gathers nectar from wildflowers, such as Columbine or Larkspur.  The adults most commonly fly at dusk, during the night, and at dawn, but they can be seen during the day.

white-lined sphinx moth

The larva or caterpillar stage of the adult white-lined sphinx moth.

This white-lined sphinx moth undergoes complete metamorphosis, changing from a caterpillar to the adult moth.  The larva or caterpillar, called a hornworm, can grow up to 3 inches long.  The caterpillars are green with pointed horns near the back.

The adult has a very long proboscis, which is what moths and butterflies use to sip nectar out of flowers.

white-lined sphinx moth

An adult at rest. Notice the white lines on the wings.

These moths can be found throughout most of North America, from southern Canada down to Central America.  During winter they migrate south to warmer areas and then they return north in the spring.

The caterpillars bury themselves 1-4 inches in the ground when they are ready to pupate and become an adult moth.  Then just before the adult emerges, the pupae squirms up to the surface so the new moth can emerge.