Proserpinus clarkiae
(Boisduval, 1852)

Proserpinus clarkiae, Pinnacles National Monument, San Benito County, California,
nectaring at chia (Salvia columbariae), courtesy of Paul Johnson.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.


Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Macroglossini, Harris, 1839
Genus: Proserpinus Hubner, [1819] ...........
Species: clarkiae Walker


.....It's a Wonderful World.....
copyright C. Odenkirk
<bgsound src="world.mid" LOOP=FOREVER>


Clark's Sphinx, Proserpinus clarkiae (Wing span: 1 3/8 - 1 3/4 inches (3 - 3.8 cm)), flies in British Columbia and Washington south through California to Baja California Norte, east to Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. It has been reported as far south as Mexico.

The upperside of the forewing is greenish gray; the median area may be dark or pale. The upperside of the hindwing is bright orangish yellow with black borders.

Proserpinus clarkiae: May 11, 1997, Larry Gooding (image to right) reports a sighting (moth nectaring at flowers) at mid-day, east of Lyle (Klickitat Co., Washington) : leave Hwy 14 at milepost 77 and hike on "Cherry Orchard Trail", an unofficial trail. Oak scrub and grassland.


Proserpinus clarkiae adults fly as a single brood from mid March-April-June in oak woodland and pine-oak woodland in foothills. Ken Davenport reports them on the wing mid March (March 19) in Kelso Valley, Kern County, California, where he has seen them flying in streambeds and alighting on dry sand.

Proserpinus clarkiae courtesy of Ward Strong, BC Ministry of Forests.

Adults fly during the afternoon, nectaring from flowers including chia (Salvia columbariae), heartleaf milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia), golden currant (Ribes aureum), bluedicks (Dichelostemma capitatum), fairyfans (Clarkia), vetches (Vicia), thistles (Cirsium), and hedgenettles (Stachys).

Proserpinus clarkiae, Pinnacles National Monument, San Benito County, California,
nectaring at chia (Salvia columbariae), courtesy of Paul Johnson.


Pupae probably wiggle to surface from subterranean chambers just prior to eclosion.

Proserpinus clarkiae, Ash Creek Road in Siskiyou County, northern California,
May 10, 2012, courtesy of Rob Santry


Females call in the males with a pheromone released from a gland at the tip of the abdomen.


Eggs hatch about 10 days after the female deposits them on the host plant, and the newly-hatched caterpillars eat their eggshells. Fully-grown caterpillars pupate and overwinter in burrows dug under stones and other solid objects.

Larvae feed on elegant fairyfan (Clarkia unguiculata) in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae).

Fifth instar Proserpinus clarkiae larva and pupa by Robert Vandermoor.

The egg was collected in the Lytton area of British Columbia by Steve Ife during summer of 2002. Identification confirmed by James P. Tuttle. The larva below, courtesy of Stephen Ife shows some slight variation from the larva pictured above.

Use your browser "Back" button to return to the previous page.

Goto Main Sphingidae Index
Goto Macroglossini Tribe
Goto Central American Indices
Goto Carribean Islands
Goto South American Indices
Goto U.S.A. tables