Fun White-lined Sphinx Moth Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
White-lined sphinx moths' facts illustrate their wide range of colors and geographic ranges
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

A white-lined sphinx moth scientifically referred to as Hyles lineata is an insect endemic to North America and Central America. The sphinx moths are also called hawk moths, with over 125 representatives from North America of the Sphingidae (Sphinx moth family).

As caterpillars, they have a massive variation in their color phenotype. However, as these caterpillars develop and get into the adult stage, their coloration is usually constant. As sphinx caterpillars, they feed on various host plants as well as during their adult stage; they are noted to be active pollinators of some flowers.

The white-lined sphinx moth is thought to be named after the Egyptian Sphinx as the white-lined sphinx moth larvae illustrate a pose that resembles that of the Egyptian Sphinx. The most interesting aspect of the white-lined sphinx moth is its ecological importance.

They play an important role in the pollination of various flowers. Some species are effective pollinators, such as the individuals with short tongues, while the individuals with long tongues do not have pollen.

If you liked what you are reading and are fascinated by the white-lined sphinx moth, you might want to read the following amazing facts about them. If you want to know more about different animals, you can read up on the Luna moth and gypsy moth.

White-Lined Sphinx Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a white-lined sphinx moth?

The white-lined sphinx moth is a type of moth belonging to the family of the Sphingidae.

What class of animal does a white-lined sphinx moth belong to?

White-lined sphinx moths belong to the class of Insects (Insecta).

How many white-lined sphinx moths are there in the world?

They are somewhat rare and not often seen around. However, the authentic evaluation of their population has not been performed yet.

Where does a white-lined sphinx moth live?

They live in massive, diverse geographic areas such as grasslands, scrublands, and deserts. They are distributed all over the United States, especially in eastern North America, which extends up to Central America, Southern Canada, and Mexico. They are sparsely distributed in Eurasia, West Indies, and Africa.

Some adult sphinx moths prefer cylindrical-shaped flowers. However, most of the moths do not have any such preferences. The white-lined sphinx moth Caterpillars are found on various plants such as evening primrose, grape, and elm (Ulmus).

What is a white-lined sphinx moth's habitat?

With a variety of geographic ranges, these moths are said to have a diverse preference of habitats. From suburbs to grasslands to deserts, they cover all sorts of habitats. They are even found in the mountains of Colorado.

Who do white-lined sphinx moths live with?

During their adult stages, they generally live in groups and often feed together. However, as larvae, they are solitary and usually live alone. However, enough studies and evaluations are not made on their behavior. The parents do not do white-lined sphinx moth caterpillar care. Rather the females only deposit the eggs.

How long does a white-lined sphinx moth live?

During their adult stage, the white-lined sphinx moth life span is merely for 10-30 days. However, throughout their stages of development, their lifespan would be relatively more.

How do they reproduce?

During the spring season, the females lay up to a hundred eggs or even more on several plants. Further on, the larvae feed on the same plants, followed by the deposition of the eggs on the underside of the leaves of these host plants.

The white-lined sphinx moth life cycle includes the egg stage or the larvae, pupation, followed by the adults' stage.

What is their conservation status?

They are not listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List.

White-Lined Sphinx Moth Fun Facts

What do white-lined sphinx moths look like?

As caterpillars, they show variegated changes in their coloration. The white-lined sphinx moth larva shows a black coloration with orange circular dots striped throughout their body. The color of the larvae of the caterpillar may vary from black to green.

Adults are tan-brown in color, and their color does not vary. They have streaks of white throughout their body in order to cover their veins, long proboscis on the underside of their head to suck nectar, and their hindwings have a pink-tinted band.

These moths are stoutly built and are large with tapered forewings and short hindwings. Their forewing is colored olive-brown with a circular tan band running around the length.

White-lined sphinx moths' facts are all associated with their vibrant appearance and feeding habits.

How cute are they?

White-lined sphinx moths are very adorable insects. They are considered fascinating because of their hovering and fluttering techniques that are like a bird. However, some might find the adults a little quirky due to their misleading color.

How do they communicate?

They mainly communicate through auditory, olfactory, tactile, and visual channels. They produce various clicking, chomping, and whistles to defend themselves from predators. They are known to be relatively noisier than other moths. They also use visual and olfactory cues for flower selection.

How big is a white-lined sphinx moth?

These species of white-lined sphinx moth size are very large. They are stoutly built, and they have a wingspan ranging between 2.5-3.5 in (6.4-8.9 cm). These species are slightly bigger than the American dagger moth and the smallest of the hummingbird species called the bee hummingbird.

How fast can white-lined sphinx moths fly?

These moth species are excellent fast fliers, and they can reach a flying speed of around 25 mph (40.2 kph) during their flight. Their wing beats and large wingspan allows them to achieve such a phenomenal speed.

How much does a white-lined sphinx moth weigh?

They are large and stocky; hence, their weight is relatively higher than other moths. However, their exact weight has not been evaluated yet.

What are the male and female names of the species?

They are not distinguished externally in terms of sex; hence they are collectively known as white-lined sphinx moths.

What would you call a baby white-lined sphinx moth?

A baby white-lined sphinx moth can be referred to as larvae.

What do they eat?

These moth species feed on nectars and flowers. They feed on various flowers and pollinate them by sucking nectar with the help of their long proboscis. Some of these plants include petunias, honeysuckle, evening primrose, lilac, penstemon flowers, willow weed, four o'clock, and cardinal flowers.

These moths are found helpful and important in pollinating their particular host plant. On the flip side, the caterpillars are known to be destructive as they feed on tomatoes, grapes, and other food plants. They also have a stiff rear horn, so the white-lined sphinx caterpillar is often associated with the Tomato Hornworm.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous and are not harmful to humans as they are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make good pets as they are habituated to the wild. However, they might visit your backyard or gardens.

Did you know...

White-lined sphinx moths are attracted to light, and so they are often seen lingering near buildings and houses with lights.

At times, these species are fallaciously introduced as hummingbird moths, another species of moths resembling hummingbirds because of their size and tendency of hovering like a bird.

They are usually nocturnal, and they are primarily seen flying during the night; however, they also linger and hover during the day.

The white-lined sphinx moth's caterpillar was used as a food source by the native Americans.

How long does it take for the white-lined sphinx caterpillar to become a moth?

The white-lined sphinx caterpillar takes around two weeks to become a moth.

What liquid does the white-lined sphinx moth produce?

They secrete pheromones which they use for their communication purposes. Pheromones are scented substances that are released from the outer surface of their body. Their olfactory systems detect these substances.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these plume moth facts and puss moth facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable white lined sphinx moth coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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