Type(s) [6?] [United States: California (Lorquin)] [CMNH]. Boisduval, 1875, in: Boisduval & Guenée, Hist. nat. Insectes (Spec. gén. Lépid. Hétérocères) 1: 35, stated that his description in that work was based on six specimens.
Synonymized with Smerinthus cerysii [sic] as a form by Smith, 1888, Trans. Amer. ent. Soc. 15: 234. Reinstated as a species by Kirby, 1892, Synonymic Cat. Lepid. Heterocera 1: 711. Resynonymized with Sphinx cerisyi as a subspecies by Rothschild & Jordan, 1903, Novit. zool. 9 (suppl.): 324. Reduced once more to the status of form by Hodges, 1971, in Dominick et al. Moths Amer. N. of Mexico 21: 81. Erroneously treated as a subspecies of Smerinthus cerisyi by Bridges, 1993, Cat. Fam. Gen. Spec. Sphingidae of the World: VIII.22. Resynonymized with the nominotypical subspecies by Carcasson & Heppner, 1996, Atlas Neotrop. Lepid. 4B: 53. Reinstated as a species by Eitschberger, 2002, Neue ent. Nachr. 53: 94 . Resynonymized with Smerinthus cerisyi by Tuttle, 2007, The Hawkmoths of North America: 117. Reinstated as a species by Pohl, Anweiler, Schmidt & Kondla, 2010, ZooKeys 38: 502.
This species was redescribed by Boisduval, 1868, Ann. Soc. ent. Belge 12: 67 (as ‡ophthalmicus), from where the type data were taken.