Moths of Kern County, California  by Alison Sheehey

Over 1100 species of moth have been found in Kern. This list is not complete nor comprehensive. I am just learning about moths as I photograph them so this site most likely will never be as well organized as many of the other pages on this site. Please enjoy learning along with me and if you see errors or find species not listed below within the county, please email me so we can learn together.

List from personal study, Kelly Richers moth sessions at the Turkey Vulture Festival, CalMoth and USGS Moths of North America website.

Thanks to Richard Worth for correcting misidentified species.

Moths of Kern & Tulare County, California      Moths of Tulare County, California

Wild Silk Moths (Saturniidae)

Medium to very large - largest moths in North America.

Wingspans 3 - 15 cm

Small heads, densely hairy bodies.

Larvae usually fleshy, with clumps of raised bristles. Buck moth caterpillars with sharp, stinging hairs. Caterpillars mostly feed on leaves of trees and shrubs. Pupate in silken cocoons or in soil.

Buck and Io Moths (Hemileucinae)

Pandora pinemoth (Coloradia pandora)
Burns' buckmoth (Hemileuca burnsi)
Western sheepmoth (Hemileuca eglanterina)
Electra buckmoth (Hemileuca electra)
Nevada buckmoth (Hemileuca nevadensis)

Giant Silkworm Moths (Saturniinae)

Antheraea polyphemus polyphemus
Ceanothus silkmoth (Hyalophora euryalus)
White-streaked saturnia moth (Saturnia albofasciata)

Sphinx Moths, Hawkmoths (Sphingidae)

Alternatively called "hummingbird," "sphinx," or "hawk" moths.

Medium to large moths, heavy bodied; wingspan up to 13 cm in some species.

Strong fast fliers, rapid wingbeat.

Active at dusk, hover in front of a flower, sip nectar through the extended proboscis

Some species lack scales on large portions of their wings, resulting in transparent or clear wings. Larval stages in most species called "hornworm" because posterior end has a harmless hook or hornlike appendage protruding upward.

Sphinginae (Sphinginae)

Pink-spotted hawkmoth (Agrius cingulata)
Five-spotted hawkmoth (Manduca quinquemaculata)
Carolina sphinx (Manduca sexta)
Big poplar sphinx (Pachysphinx occidentalis)
One-eyed sphinx (Smerinthus cerisyi)
Great ash sphinx (Sphinx chersis)
Elegant sphinx (Sphinx perelegans)
Sequoia sphinx (Sphinx sequoiae)
Vashti sphinx (Sphinx vashti)

Macroglossinae (Macroglossinae)

Pacific green sphinx (Arctonotus lucidus)
Achemon sphinx (Eumorpha achemon)
Kern primrose sphinx (Euproserpinus euterpe)
Phaeton primrose sphinx (Euproserpinus phaeton)
Snowberry clearwing (Hemaris diffinis)
White-lined Sphinx Moth at Shirley Meadow, Greenhorn Mountains 7 July 2003 White-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata)
Clark's sphinx (Proserpinus clarkiae)

Prominents (Notodontidae)

Medium-sized, stout bodies, typically drab--brown or grayish.

Females generally larger than males.

Proboscis varies by species; specialized or reduced.

At rest hold their wings like a roof over the body or roll them to appear stick-ike.

Larvae of some oddly shaped and may look like sections of host plant. Larvae of some brightly colored and striped.

Most overwinter as larvae, pupating in soil or on the ground during spring.

Clostera apicalis ornata
Furcula cinerea cinereoides
Furcula scolopendrina
Nadata oregonensis
Schizura ipomoeae
Schizura unicornis conspecta
Schizura concinna

Tiger Moths and Lichen Moths (Arctiidae)

Small to medium-sized, often white, yellow, orange, or red with black markings on the forewings. Some day-flying adults, most nocturnal.

Larvae typically very hairy; some larvae called "woolly bears."

Larvae feed on lichens and herbaceous or woody plants, some are forest pests.

Pupation in cocoons made of matted larval hair and little or no silk.

Tiger Moths (Arctiinae)

Apantesis ornata ornata
Apantesis hewletti
Apantesis nevadensis
Apantesis proxima
Painted Tiger Moth - Arachnis picta
Clio Moth - Ectypia clio

Salt Marsh Moth or Acrea Moth - Estigmene acrea

Euchaetes elegans
Grammia behrii
Grammia nevadensis
Edwards' Glassywing - Hemihyalea edwardsii
Hyphantria cunea
Kodiosoma fulvum
Leptarctia californiae

Lophocampa argentata argentata
Lophocampa maculata

Mexican Tiger Moth - Notarctia proxima

Platyprepia virginalis
Spilosoma vestalis
Turuptiana permaculata


Sierra Pericopid (Gnophaela latipennis)

Owlet Moths, Miller Moths (Noctuidae)

Largest moth family with approximately 20,000 species. North American population is around 2,900.

Wide variation in appearance and behavior. Most are gray to brown in color and have line or spots on their wings. Some are brightly colored.

Small to large, with most species medium-sized with wingspans of 2 - 4.5 cm.

At rest, most hold their wings above their bodies like a roof.

Mostly nocturnal.

Larvae feed on plant foliage, dead leaves, lichens, and fungi. Feeding varies with leaf miners,  stem- or leaf-borers, and others feeding on plant shoots.

Pupate in cells in soil, in plant cavities, or in silk cocoons.

Catocaline Noctuid Moths - (Catocalinae)

Black Witch - Ascalapha odorata


Shadowy Arches - Drasteria divergens

Heliothentine Noctuids, Flower Moths (Heliothentinae)

Helicoverpa zea
Heliolonche carolus
Heliolonche joaquinensis
Heliolonche pictipennis
Heliothis phloxiphaga
Heliothis virescens
Heliothodes diminutiva
Neogrotella spaldingi
Schinia acutilinea (separata)
Schinia aurantiaca
Schinia biundulata
Schinia buta
Schinia cupes
Schinia dobla
Schinia erosa
Schinia ligeae
Schinia megarena
Schinia mortua
Schinia obliqua (unimacula)
Schinia pulchripennis
Schinia scarletina
Schinia sueta californica
Schinia tertia
Schinia vacciniae
Schinia velaris
Schinia walsinghami


Autographa sp. North Chester Avenue Oildale, California Alfalfa Looper Moth -- Autographa californica
Autographa pasiphaeia
Axenus arvalis
Euchalcia albavitta
Syngrapha celsa fm. sierra
Trichoplusia ni

Oecophorid Moths (Oecophoridae)

Small to medium-sized, with wingspans ranging from 0.3 to 3 cm.

Smooth-scaled heads and broad forewings.

Larvae normally feed concealed in webs or in rolled leaves of the host plant. Larvae of some feed on dead leaves, decomposing animals, or decaying fungi.

Pupation occurs in larval shelters, on the ground, or below its surface.

Depressariine Moths (Depressariinae)

Agonopterix arnucella

Agonopterix fusciterminella

Agonopterix oregonensis
Agonopterix rosaciliella
Exaeretia nechlys

Oecophorine Moths (Oecophorinae)

Brymblia quadrimaculella
Decantha stonda
Inga ciliella
Pleurota albastrigulella
Rectiostoma fernaldella

Ethmiine Moths (Ethmiinae)

Ethmia arctostaphylella
Ethmia brevistriga aridicola
Ethmia charybdis
Ethmia discostrigella discostrigella
Ethmia discostrigella subcaerulea
Ethmia geranella
Ethmia macneilli
Ethmia marmorea
Ethmia plagiobothrae
Ethmia scylla
Ethmia semitenebrella

Inch-worm & looper moths - Geometridae

Large family with 26,000 species of moths described

Slender abdomen and broad wings usually held flat with the hindwings visible.

Mostly nocturnal.

Medium size, typical size 3 cm.

Green, grey, or brownish fading into the background.

Food leaves, lichen, flowers or pollen.


Melanolophia imitata cana
Narraga fimetaria partitaria

Green Geometrids - Geometrinae

Aethaloida packardia
Anavitrinella ocularia
Animomyia smithii smithii
Campaea perlata
Caripeta aequaliaria
Chesiadodes morosata
Chesiadodes curvata
Cheteoscelis bistriaria
Chlorochlamys triangularis
Chlorochlamys appellaria
Chlorosea banksaria banksaria
Chlorosea banksaria gracearia
Cochisea recisa
Cochisea sinuaria
Dasyfidonia macdunnoughi
Dichorda illustraria
Dichordophora phoenix
Digrammia excurvata
Digrammia curvata
Digrammia denticulata
Digrammia delectata
Digrammia burneyata
Digrammia muscariata
Digrammia californiaria
Digrammia colorata
Digrammia irrorata irrorata
Digrammia neptaria
Digrammia fieldi
Drepanulatrix unicalcararia
Drepanulatrix hulstii hulstii
Drepanulatrix bifilata bifilata
Drepanulatrix quadraria quadraria
Drepanulatrix foeminaria
Drepanulatrix nevadaria
Drepanulatrix carnearia
Drepanulatrix falcataria
Drepanulatrix secundaria
Drepanulatrix monicaria
Enypia packardata
Enypia coolidgi
Eudrespanelatri rectifascia
Eusarca terraria
Gabriola sierrae sierrae
Glaucina erroraria
Glaucina macdunnoughi
Glaucina epiphysaria
Glaucina baea
Glaucina magnifica
Glaucina interruptaria
Glaucina gonia gonia
Glaucina platia
Glaucina lowensis
Glaucina eureka agnesae
Glaucina ochrofuscaria indistincta
Glaucina loxa
Hesperumia sulphuraria
Hesperumia fumosaria impensa
Hulstina formosata
Hulstina wrightiaria
Iridopsis clivinaria impia
Iridopsis sanctissima
Macaria quadrilinearia
Macaria semivolata
Macaria extemporata
Macaria guenearia
Macaria bitactata epigenata
Macaria colata
Macaria benigna
Macaria marcescaria
Macaria lorquinaria
Macaria adonis
Macaria unipunctaria
Nacophora perfidaria
Nacophora aetha
Nacophora cana
Nematocampa brehmeata
Nemoria pulcherrima
Nemoria darwinata darwinata
Nemoria darwinata punctularia
Nemoria obliqua hennei
Nemoria leptalea
Nemoria intensaria
Nemoria glaucomarginaria
Neoalcis californiaria
Neoterpes trianguliferata
Neoterpes edwardsata
Nepytia umbrosaria nigrovenaria
Nepytia juabata
Nepytia lagunata
Paleacrita longiciliata
Paraglaucina hulstinoides
Pero meskaria
Pero radiosaria
Pero macdunnoughi
Pero behrensaria vanduzeeata
Pero occidentalis packardi
Pherne sperryi
Pherne subpunctata subpunctata
Phigalia plumogeraria
Plataea personaria
Plataea ursaria
Plataea californiaria
Plataea diva
Plataea trilinearia
Prochoerodes truxaliata
Protitame matilda
Protitame subalbaria
Pterotaea lamiaria
Pterotaea campestraria
Pterotaea glauca
Pterotaea obscura
Pterotaea comstocki
Pterotaea macrocercos
Pterotaea melanocarpa melanocarpa
Pterotaea cariosa incompta?
Pterotaea cariosa aporema
Pterotaea newcombi orinomos
Sabulodes aegrotata
Sabulodes spoliata berkleyata
Sabulodes edwardsata
Semiothisa napensis
Semiothisa s-signata
Semiothisa cyda
Sericosema juturnaria
Sericosema immaculata
Sericosema wilsonensis
Sericosema simularia
Sicya crocearia
Sicya macularia macularia
Sicya macularia lewisi
Sicya pergilvaria
Sicya morsicaria
Slossonia rubrotincta
Somatolophia ectrapelaria
Stenoporpia anastomosaria
Stenoporpia pulmonaria dejecta
Stergamataea delicata delicata
Synaxis pallulata
Synaxis cervinaria
Synaxis hirsutaria
Piute Mountains above Brown Meadow on Piute Mountain Rd. 6 June 2003 Wavy-lined Emerald - Synchlora aerata liquoraria
Synglochis perumbraria
Yermoia perplexata


Archirhoe neomexicana
Archirhoe indefinata
Ceratodalia gueneata
Dysstroma citrata
Dysstroma formosa formosa
Dysstroma formosa occidentata
Dysstroma brunneata ethela
Dysstroma mancipata hulstata
Enchoria osculata
Enchoria herbicolata
Epirrhoe plebeculata
Eupethecia monacheata
Eupithecia maestosa maestosa
Eupithecia castellata
Eupithecia placidata
Eupithecia misturata misturata
Eupithecia macdunnoughi
Eupithecia cretaceata
Eupithecia multiscripta
Eupithecia multistrigata
Eupithecia lachrymosa georgii
Eupithecia appendiculata
Eupithecia zelmira
Eupithecia segregata
Eupithecia agnesata
Eupithecia niveifascia
Eupithecia johnstoni
Eupithecia rindgei
Eupithecia spermaphaga
Eupithecia gilvipennata
Eupithecia scabrogata
Eupithecia adequata
Eupithecia subapicata
Eupithecia shirleyata
Eupithecia gilata
Eupithecia deserticola
Eupithecia graefii tulareata
Eupithecia nevadata nevadata
Eupithecia implorata
Eupithecia cestata
Eustroma semiatrata
Hydriomena borussata
Hydriomena irata quaesitata
Hydriomena edenata indistincta
Hydriomena nevadae
Hydriomena crokeri comstocki
Hydriomena modestata
Hydriomena albifasciata albifasciata
Hydriomena nubilofasciata
Lithostege rotundata
Lithostege fuscata
Lithostege deserticola
Marmopteryx marmorata marmorata
Marmopteryx tessellata
Nasusina minuta
Orthonama obstipata
Perizoma oxygramma
Perizoma curvilinea curvilinea
Perizoma custodiata
Prorella leucata
Prorella opinata
Spargania magnoliata ruptata
Stamnoctenis pearsalli
Stamnoctenis ululata
Stamnoctenis costimacula costimacula
Stamnodes albiapicata
Stamnodes mendocinoensis
Stamnodes annellata
Stamnodes coenonymphata
Triphosa haesitata haesitata
Triphosa californiata
Venusia duodecemlineata
Venusia pearsalli
Xantherhoe spaldingaria
Xanthorhoe defensaria
Zenophleps lignicolorata
Zenophleps obscurata


Cyclophora dataria
Cyclophora nanaria
Idaea bonifata
Lobocleta ossularia
Lobocleta plemyraria
Lobocleta lanceolata
Scopula junctaria quinquelinearia
Scopula sideraria

Unidentified Specimens

In yard rocks Squirrel Valley (Mountain Mesa)

North Chester Avenue Oildale, CaliforniaNorth Chester Avenue Oildale, California

TV Fest Specimens 27 Sept 03




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