The “hummingbird moth” often seen throughout the Mojave Desert is a startling surprise to visitors at our desert state parks. Known commonly as the white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) its behavior and large size cause it to be often mistaken for a hummingbird. It is a chunky moth with six white strips across its brown body and a wingspan of 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches. The hindwings have pink streaks. The caterpillar of the white-lined sphinx moth is usually dull yellow in the west but color varies and can be off white and sometimes nearly black. Because of its large size, the white-lined sphinx moth must beat its wings very fast, enabling it to hover like a hummingbird as it sips nectar. At the poppy reserve look for them on Kitanemuk Point hovering over the lacy phacelia. Other desert plants that attract this striking moth include California buckwheat and California four o’clock. In California, there are 21 different species of sphinx moths.