Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Great ash sphinx
Sphinx chersis (Hübner, 1823)


Family: Sphingidae
Subfamily: Sphinginae
Identification: Forewing is soft dark gray to blue-gray with a series of black dashes, one of which reaches the wing tip. Hindwing is black with blurry pale gray bands.
Wing Span: 3 9/16 - 5 1/8 inches (9 - 13 cm).
Life History: Fully-grown caterpillars pupate in burrows in the soil. Caterpillars from the second generation pupate and overwinter in their burrows.
Flight: . Two broods in the south from May-June and from July-August.
Caterpillar Hosts: A variety of plants including lilac (Syringa vulgaris), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), ash (Fraxinus), and privet (Ligustrum).
Adult Food: Deep-throated flowers such as Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis), dogbane (Apocynum), and evening primrose (Onagraceae).
Habitat: A wide variety of woodlands and arid western scrublands.
Range: Mexico north through most of the United States, but rare in the Gulf States.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL

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