Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Kern primrose sphinx
Euproserpinus euterpe Hy. Edwards, 1888

Family: Sphingidae
Subfamily: Macroglossinae
Identification: Forewing upperside is brown with black transverse lines throughout. Hindwing upperside is white with a black outer margin and black at the base.
Wing Span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/8 inches (4.5 - 5.4 cm).
Life History: Adults fly during warm parts of the day and bask on patches of bare ground, roads, and rodent burrows. When the afternoon wind stirs up, the moths move to more sheltered basking sites. Females deposit eggs singly or in pairs on the underside of host leaves. Young caterpillars eat flowers, while older caterpillars eat flowers and new leaves. Fully-grown caterpillars pupate in burrows near the soil surface. Often females lay eggs on the exotic weed Erodium cicutarium; caterpillars cannot digest this plant and they starve.
Flight: . One brood from February-April.
Caterpillar Hosts: Camissonia contorta epilobioides in the primrose family (Onagraceae).
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers of filaree (Erodium) and Nemophila.
Habitat: Pastures and fallow fields.
Range: Walker Basin in Kern County, southern California.
Conservation: This is the rarest sphinx moth in North America. A serious threat is filaree (Erodium cicutarium), an exotic weed which the females mistake for evening primrose. Eggs laid on this weed hatch but the caterpillars do not survive.
NCGR: G1 - Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences, or very few remaining individuals), or because of some factor of its biology making it especially vulnerable to extinction. (Critically endangered throughout its range).
Management Needs: Develop propagation techniques and establish at least three additional colonies in appropriate habitat.
Comments: NULL
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