|scientific name Sphinx vashti |
common name Vashti Sphinx
Open woodland, shrubby areas, edges, clearings etc.
Adults have been collected in Alberta from early May to late August.
The smallest of the "grey" Alberta sphinx, but nevertheless a large
(6.5-10.0 cm wingspan), narrow-winged heavy-bodied moth. The forewings are dull grey with four short black horizontal streaks, a bent apical streak and a thin prominent black subterminal line. The lower half of the forewing base is darker grey and contrasts with the costa, which is much paler on the basal half. Hindwings are white with a narrow black median band and a broad black terminal band with a narrow grey outer edge. The fringe of both wings is dark grey. The thorax is variable, black to pale grey, and there are prominent black and white spots along the sides of the abdomen. S. chersis is similar but larger and has a much less contrasting pattern, especially on the hindwings. Old Alberta records of Sphinx mordecai (Bowman, 1951) refer to vashti.
The Vashti sphinx is nocturnal and comes to light. Larvae are solitary defoliators and overwinter as pupae. They have a rather extended flight period in Alberta and the possibility of more than one brood per season should be investigated.
A common widespread moth; no concerns.
No Alberta data: elsewhere snowberry (Symphoricarpos sp.) is reported to be the larval host.
West to Vancouver Island, south to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In Alberta, vashti is common throughout the Grasslands and Aspen Parklands regions, north into the settled areas of the southern Boreal forest to at least Barrhead, as well as in the Peace River district. They have also been collected in the dryer open areas of the foothills and low elevations in the mountains, from about Calgary, south.
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