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19 Rarest Moths in the US

Written By Richie Alston


We’ve all seen moths fluttering around our gardens as the sun sets and they begin their takeover of our yards. But most of the moths you see will be common. There are some super rare, unique moths that most of us can only dream of seeing.

Below are 19 of the rarest moths in the US. If you’ve been lucky enough to spot any of these, please let everybody know about it. We’re all going to be jealous!

1) Glover’s Silk Moth

Location: Southwest

Habitat: Desert, Grasslands

Rarity: Rare

Latin: Hylaophora Gloveri

The Glover’s Silk Moth is a magnificent creature that paints a picture of autumn with its warm, earthy colors. With a wingspan that can reach up to 4 inches, it’s a sight to behold.

Their caterpillars, with their unique, spiky appearance, often look like miniature dragons. This lends an air of mystique to this already stunning species.

2) Santa Cataline Island Blue Moth

Location: California

Habitat: Forests, Grasslands

Rarity: Endangered

Latin: Euphilotes Battoides Catalina

Found exclusively on Santa Catalina Island, this moth’s shimmering blue hue mimics the surrounding ocean’s colors.

Its radiant beauty is so rare that many entomologists consider spotting one in the wild a dream come true. This island gem is a testament to nature’s ability to craft perfection.

3) Sandia Hairstreak Moth

Location: New Mexico

Habitat: Arid Foothills

Rarity: Rare

Latin: Callophrys Mcfarlandi

Flashing a vibrant green, the Sandia Hairstreak Moth looks like a flying emerald.

Named after the Sandia Mountains, where they were first discovered, they are a proud symbol of New Mexico’s rich biodiversity. Their iridescence sets them apart and ensures they capture attention wherever they flutter.

4) Buckmoth

Location: Southeast

Habitat: Pine Forests

Rarity: Rare

Latin: Hemileuca Maia

The Buckmoth is a striking figure in the Southeast’s forests, boasting bold black and white patterns. Its name is derived from its active season, which interestingly coincides with the deer rutting season.

This moth’s contrasted appearance is a delightful sight, especially when it’s set against the vibrant colors of fall.

5) Cecropia Moth

Location: Eastern US

Habitat: Woodlands, Forests

Rarity: Uncommon

Latin: Hyalophora Cecropia

As the largest native moth in North America, the Cecropia Moth is a true marvel. It boasts an impressive wingspan of up to 6 inches and its wings have mesmerizing circular patterns.

These patterns are said to resemble eyes, which might serve to deter potential predators, showcasing nature’s clever design.

6) Imperial Moth

Location: Eastern US

Habitat: Woodlands, Forests

Rarity: Declining

Latin: Eacles Imperialis

The Imperial Moth graces the Eastern woodlands with its majestic yellow hue adorned with purple-brown spots.

Beyond its regal appearance, the moth’s larva has a unique, horn-like structure. This contrast between its elegant adult form and intriguing larval state makes it a subject of fascination for many.

7) Hickory Horned Devil Moth

Location: Eastern US

Habitat: Deciduous Forests

Rarity: Rare

Latin: Citheronia Regalis

The Hickory Horned Devil Moth is an elegant creature with soft, pastel-green wings.

However, its caterpillar has earned the title of “dragon of the insect world” due to its intimidating appearance. You can see it in the photo above! This juxtaposition of delicate beauty and fierce youth is a testament to nature’s diverse expressions.

8) Hubbard’s Small Silk Moth

Location: Southwest

Habitat: Desert Regions

Rarity: Rare

Latin: Sphingicampa Hubbardi

Mainly found in the Southwest, the Hubbard’s Small Silk Moth embodies desert beauty.

Its delicate blend of pale colors sometimes resembles ancient petroglyphs. This moth is a beautiful reminder of the rich history and culture of its native lands.

9) Pink-Spotted Hawkmoth

Location: Southern US

Habitat: Gardens, Woodlands

Rarity: Uncommon

Latin: Agrius Cingulata

With pink spots set against a soft brown backdrop, the Pink-spotted Hawkmoth is a visual delight. What’s more captivating is its swift, bird-like flight.

Often mistaken for a hummingbird, this moth masterfully dances between flowers, leaving a trail of admirers in its wake.

10) Five-Spotted Hawkmoth

Location: Across US

Habitat: Gardens, Farmlands

Rarity: Uncommon

Latin: Manduca Quinquemaculata

Characterized by five distinct spots on each wing, the Five-spotted Hawkmoth is an enchanting sight against the moonlit sky.

Its caterpillar form is the famous tomato hornworm, a familiar sight for gardeners. From gardens to wild meadows, this moth is a reminder of nature’s cyclic beauty.

11) Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth

Location: Eastern US

Habitat: Woodlands, Gardens

Rarity: Uncommon

Latin: Darapsa Myron

Named after the plant its larvae feed on, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth seamlessly blends into its surroundings with its captivating mix of brown and grey.

Its mastery in camouflage is awe-inspiring, making it a living lesson on nature’s survival tactics, both as a catepillar (as seen above) and as a moth.

12) Waved Sphinx Moth

Location: Eastern US

Habitat: Woodlands, Forests

Rarity: Uncommon

Latin: Ceratomia Undulosa

With its intricate wavy patterns, the Waved Sphinx Moth is a piece of natural art. When at rest, its wings fold in a unique manner, making it resemble a piece of bark.

This moth is not just a beauty to behold but also a master of disguise.

13) Walnut Sphinx Moth

Location: Eastern US

Habitat: Deciduous Forests

Rarity: Rare

Latin: Amorpha Juglandis

Roaming the deciduous forests, the Walnut Sphinx Moth has a fondness for walnut trees, from which it gets its name.

When threatened, the caterpillar exhibits a rare behavior, producing a clicking sound. This moth’s life stages are filled with surprises, from its leaf-like appearance to its vocal caterpillar.

14) Modest Sphinx Moth

Location: Western US

Habitat: Deserts, Arid Regions

Rarity: Rare

Latin: Pachysphinx Modesta

The Modest Sphinx Moth, with its muted colors and humble appearance, is a testament to the beauty in simplicity.

While it might not be the flashiest of moths, its elegance and grace in flight are unmatched, proving that beauty often lies in the details.

15) White-Lined Sphinx Moth

Location: Across US

Habitat: Gardens, Meadows

Rarity: Uncommon

Latin: Hyles Lineata

The White-lined Sphinx Moth’s striking white lines set against a darker hue make it a standout.

Often seen hovering over flowers and sipping nectar, its behavior is reminiscent of hummingbirds. This moth blurs the lines between bird and insect in the most beautiful way.

16) Elm Sphinx Moth

Location: Eastern US

Habitat: Deciduous Forests

Rarity: Rare

Latin: Ceratomia Amyntor

A lover of elm trees, the Elm Sphinx Moth’s greenish-brown hue allows it to effortlessly blend with leaves.

Its caterpillars stand out with a distinct horn at the rear, adding a touch of intrigue to this already captivating species.

17) Pandora Sphinx Moth

Location: Eastern US

Habitat: Woodlands, Gardens

Rarity: Uncommon

Latin: Eumorpha Pandorus

The Pandora Sphinx Moth is a visual symphony of olive-green with pink highlights. Drawing inspiration from the Greek myth of Pandora, this moth is wrapped in mystery and allure. Its ethereal beauty makes it a sought-after sight for enthusiasts.

18) Achemon Sphinx Moth

Location: Eastern US

Habitat: Woodlands, Meadows

Rarity: Rare

Latin: Eumorpha Achemon

The Achemon Sphinx Moth’s sleek body and tapering wings make it a graceful flier. Its caterpillar has a unique behavior of burrowing into the ground to pupate, showcasing the diverse life stages this moth undergoes.

19) Twin-Spotted Sphinx Moth

Location: Across US

Habitat: Forests, Woodlands

Rarity: Uncommon

Latin: Smerinthus Jamaicensis

The Twin-spotted Sphinx Moth, with two distinct spots on each wing, is an epitome of symmetry. Known for their swift, agile flights, they dart between flowers with precision, leaving onlookers in awe of their aerial acrobatics.

Spotted Any?

Have you come across any of these super rare moths? Let everybody know by commenting at the bottom of this page.

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