Tohono O'odham men, women and children collect these larva as they wander. Removing the head and viscrea they would then roast them over hot coals and eaten immediately or braided and hung in the sun. They were a favorite food source full of protein and energy rich.
*White-lined Sphinx Moth*
The White-lined Sphinx Moth's scientific name is Hyles lineata. Scientific names are given to organisms for their physical appearance and interactions with other organisms.This particular moth has many common names, one of which is "Hummingbird Moth", derived from their hovering and swift flying flight patterns, which is similar to hummingbirds do. Other common names include "Hawk Moth" and "Five-lined Sphinx".
The White-lined Sphinx moth is named for it's physical appearance, as it has characteristic white lines along the veins of the wings and thorax. The front wing of the sphinx moth is, much like many other moths, larger than the back wing. This wing is brown with a light band running from the base of the wing to the tip. The back wings are typically a light pink (though it can be more reddish) in color with dark brown edges. The abdomen is brown, with white, dark brown, and pinkish geometric markings.
The mouth of the Sphinx Moth is a curled proboscis which can sometimes reach up to and exceed 10 inches. Its antennae are thin at the base, ending slightly enlarged. This moth, like other insects, has six legs. Their wingspan can reach from two and half inches to over five inches in length. Their body length is typically between two and half to three and half inches. These moths are larger than most other species.
In the larvae stage, they do not have a set color combination, but have many different appearances. Sometimes they will be yellow, green, or dark green with brown or yellow stripes and/or brown and pink circles running down its length. They also have a brown head and a horn at the rear of their body as a defense mechanism.
In the late pupa stage, the wing design and head of the adult moth can sometimes be seen through the translucent, brown pupa.
These moths can live in a variety of different climates and habitats. This can range from deserts to suburbs to gardens. However, the moth is primarily found in desert regions of North America and can be found on plants after rainfall. Typically they emerge at dusk and will fly through the night and into dawn, but have been recorded at other times throughout the duration of the day ,generally later in the season.
The White-lined Sphinx Moth, the most commonly seen Sphinx Moth, can be found in most contiguous states of the United States, as well as Alaska and Hawaii, and into southern Canada, Mexico, and Central America. However, the White-lined Sphinx Moth is most concentrated in desert regions such as the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. A similar species, Hyles livornica, which resides in Eurasia and Africa, is often confused with the White-lined Sphinx moth for their similar appearances. The wide-range of this moth is due to it's ability to live in variety of different climates in North America.
The white-lined sphinx moth larvae, or caterpillar, is most abundant in the fall. If there are many caterpillars in the fall then it can be deducted that there will be a high population of white-lined Sphinx Moth in the spring, when they reemerge from the ground where they had changed through metamorphosis. The larvae does not have a set color pattern, but has a yellow or green body with brown stripes and/or brown and pink circles running down it's length that can be recognized in the adult stage of the moth.Typically they have a brown head. They can reach up to five inches in length with a horn at the rear of the body, which is found in most sphingid moths. If alarmed, they can rear up their heads and from their mouths can issue a thick, green substance. This posture is sometimes described as "sphinx-like".
The white-lined sphinx moths are primary pollinators of the Primrose Family, as they are their preferred flower to feed on. They are also known be chief pollinators of other flowers in western desert regions and throughout the rest of North America. In the larvae stage they are known to eat off of many different plants, which can cause population bursts and damage to gardens. Their predators include many moth-eating organisms, such as bats and birds.
Information copied from http://digitalinsectcollection.wikispaces.com/White-Lined+Sphinx+Moth