Hyles lineata

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White-lined sphinx
Hummingbird Moth (9687769149).jpg
Hyles lineata feeding
The caterpillar varies widely in coloration, from black with stripes to green with red spots.
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Sphingidae
Genus: Hyles
Species: H. lineata
Binomial name
Hyles lineata
(Fabricius, 1775)[1]
  • Sphinx lineata Fabricius, 1775
  • Celerio lineata
  • Deilephila lineata
  • Sphinx daucus Cramer, [1777]
  • Sphinx lineata americana Laporte, 1830
  • Celerio lineata florilega Kernbach, 1962
  • Celerio lineata lineatoides Gehlen, 1934

Hyles lineata, the white-lined sphinx or hummingbird moth, is a moth of the family Sphingidae. Its range extends from Central America, through the United States and into parts of Canada.


The forewing is dark brown with a tan stripe which extends from the base to the apex. There are also white lines that cover the veins. The black hindwing has a broad pink median band. It has a wingspan of 2 to 3 inches.[2] The moth is sometimes referred to as a hummingbird moth because of its similarity to the hummingbird in appearance and flight characteristics.


The white-lined sphinx may be encountered from March to October.[2] This moth's rapid wing movement resembles a hummingbird in flight when it hovers over flowers while it feeds. They may also be seen darting in a back-and-forth pattern over nectar sources, or larval food sources.


The moth's range is throughout the United States and extends north into southern and mid-western Canada and south into Mexico. It can also be found occasionally in the West Indies.[3] See also List of butterflies and moths of Arizona.

Life cycle[edit]

The larva is yellow and black or sometimes lime green and black. Many individuals have a subdorsal stripe. The head, prothoracic shield, and the anal plate are one color either green or orange with small black dots. The horn varies from either yellow or orange and sometimes has a black tip.[4] Larvae burrow into soil to go into pupal stage, where they remain for 2–3 weeks before they emerge as adults.

Host plants[edit]

The adult of this species is a key pollinator of the rare lemon lily (Lilium parryi) in California.[5]

The caterpillars of this species eat:



  1. ^ "CATE Creating a Taxonomic eScience - Sphingidae". Cate-sphingidae.org. Retrieved 2011-10-25. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b Charles V. Covell, Jr. (1984, 2005). Moths of Eastern North America. Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, VA. ISBN 1-884549-21-7
  3. ^ "Butterflies and Moths of North America | collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera". Butterfliesandmoths.org. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  4. ^ David L. Wagner (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN 0-691-12144-3
  5. ^ "''Lilium parryi''". Center for Plant Conservation. Archived from the original on 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 

External links[edit]