Moths in California

California has abundant moths, thriving in the northern and southern parts of the state. Some of the prominent species dwelling near the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California include white-lined sphinx moth, achemon sphinx moth, California oak moth, polyphemus moth, and forest tent caterpillar moth. On the other hand, in southern California, many moths, like the Pacific green sphinx moth and garden tortrix moths, remain concentrated in the Orange County and San Diego County regions.

The giant sphinx moth, noted for its enormous size, was spotted in Southern California’s Santa Barbara in 2015. Its prime attraction was perhaps the cherimoya tree growing in this region. Another species known to exist here is the webbing clothes moth, considered a pest, infesting fabrics. The gypsy moth has also emerged as an annoying pest, with 41 of them trapped in Santa Barbara in the year 1981.

Common Moths: Pacific Green Sphinx Moth, White-lined Sphinx Moth, Snowberry Clearwing Moth

Large Moths: Giant Sphinx Moth, Polyphemus Moth, Black Witch Moth

 Here is the list of moths found in California arranged in order of the family they belong to.

Tortrix Moths

  • Filbertworm Moth (Actias luna)
  • Garden Rose Tortricid Moth (Acleris variegana)
  • Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)
  • Garden Tortrix Moth (Clepsis peritana)

Prominent Moths

  • California Oak Moth (Phryganidia californica)
  • White-dotted Prominent Moth (Nadata gibbosa)

Saturniidae Moths

  • Ceanothus Silk Moth (Hyalophora euryalus)
  • Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)

Hawk Moths

  • White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata)
  • Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemaris diffinis )
  • Achemon Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha achemon)
  • Giant Sphinx Moth (Cocytius antaeus)
  • Pacific Green Sphinx Moth (Proserpinus lucidus)

Erebidae Moths

  • Salt Marsh Moth (Estigmene acrea)
  • Wandering Tiger Moth (Spilosoma vagans)
  • Vestal Tiger Moth (Spilosoma vestalis)
  • Ornate Tiger Moth (Grammia ornata)
  • Painted Tiger Moth (Arachnis picta)
  • Ranchman’s Tiger Moth (Platyprepia virginalis)
  • Red-Shouldered Ctenucha (Ctenucha rubroscapus)
  • Oregon Cycnia Moth (Cycnia oregonensis)
  • Edwards’ Glassy-wing Moth (Pseudohemihyalea edwardsii)
  • Spotted Tussock Moth (Lophocampa maculata)
  • Little White Lichen Moth (Clemensia albata)
  • Litter Moth (Tetanolita palligera)
  • Western Tussock Moth (Orgyia vetusta)
  • Everlasting Bud Moth (Eublemma minima)
  • Forage Looper Moth (Caenurgina erechtea)
  • Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar)
  • Black Witch Moth (Lymantria dispar)

Crambid Snout Moths

  • California Pyrausta Moth (Pyrausta californicalis)
  • Genista Broom Moth (Uresiphita reversalis)

Owlet Moths

  • Obelisk Dart Moth (Euxoa obeliscoides)
  • Large Yellow Underwing Moth (Noctua pronuba)
  • White-speck Moth (Mythimna unipuncta)
  • V-lined Quaker Moth (Zosteropoda hirtipes)
  • Girdler Moth (Dargida procinctus)
  • American Dun-bar Moth (Cosmia calami)
  • Bilobed Looper Moth (Megalographa biloba)
  • Alfalfa Looper Moth (Autographa californica)
  • Mariposa Forester Moth (Alypia mariposa)
  • Marble Dagger Moth (Acronicta marmorata)
  • Small Heliothodes Moth (Heliothodes diminutivus)

 Tuft Moths

  • Ceanothus Nola Moth (Nola minna)

Geometer Moths

  • Western White-ribboned Carpet Moth (Mesoleuca gratulata)
  • Dark-bordered Granite Moth (Digrammia neptaria)
  • Oak Winter Highflier (Hydriomena nubilofasciata)
  • Common Emerald Moth (Hemithea aestivaria)
  • Wavy-lined Emerald Moth (Hemithea aestivaria)

Snout Moths

Fairy Longhorn Moths

  • Three-striped Longhorn Moth (Adela trigrapha)

Lappet Moths

  • Forest Tent Caterpillar Moth (Malacosoma disstria)

Clothes Moths

  • Webbing Clothes Moth (Tineola bisselliella)