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Species Page - Sphinx chersis
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scientific name    Sphinx chersis    

common name     Great Ash Sphinx

Dry woodland, urban areas and other plantations.

Adults have been collected in Alberta from late May though July.

A large (9.0-13.0 cm wingspan) narrow-winged dull grey moth. The forewings each have four fine horizontal black dashes, the uppermost reaching the apex, and a small diffuse black blotch at the wing base. The hindwings are pale grey with two broad black horizontal bands. The abdomen has a series of large alternating black and white spots along the sides. The much commoner S. vashti averages much smaller than chersis (6.5-10.0 cm wingspan), and has sharper black dashes and better defined banding, and usually has a paler forewing costa, especially on the basal half. Other Alberta Sphinx species have either extensive black on the forewings or very different patterns.

life history
Adults are mainly nocturnal, and come to light, but will also visit flowers for nectar late in the evening. The larvae are solitary defoliators. The pupae overwinter in the soil. There is a single brood each year.

A widespread species at the northern edge of its range in Alberta.

diet info
No Alberta data. Elsewhere in Canada, ash (Fraxinus sp.), yellow and white birch (Betula sp.), pincherry (Prunus pennsylvanica), Dogwood (Cornus sp.) and Canada plum (Prunus nigra). Other hosts reported in the literature include, lilac (Syringa), aspen (Populus tremuloides) and Ligustrum. Adults have been observed nectaring at garden flowers at dusk in Saskatchewan.

Primarily a moth of the hardwood forests, chersis is found throughout much of the treed portions of North America south of the boreal forest and extending south into northern Mexico. In Alberta, it has been reported only in the grasslands region, from the South Saskatchewan River south.

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Related Species Info
Display Hierarchy
References (3)
Specimen Info
There are 8 specimens of this species in the online database
Map Distribution
Adult Seasonal Distributioncreate a collection histogram with specimens
Specimen List (8)
Related Links
Moth Photographers Group


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