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Ash Sphinx (Manduca jasminearum)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Ash Sphinx

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Image Credit: a cousin of the Irwins, taken in NJ
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A plain gray thorax ringed in black is one of a few distinctive features of the Ash Sphinx.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Ash Sphinx moths are large, gray moths with a dark streak running down the middle of each forewing. It is not the same moth as the Great Ash Sphinx which is larger and also uses ash as a host plant. An Ash Sphinx may have subtle, olive green tones on the ?shoulders? of the wings. The hairy thorax lacks any definitive markings in the middle of it, and its light gray hairs are surrounding by a dark ring. A golden brown patch in the center of each forewing has a small white reniform spot on top of it. If wings are spread wide open, hindwings are visible and reveal a black and white banding pattern that gently curves across these smaller wings.

Caterpillars feed on the leaves of ash trees and two broods are usually produced each year. The caterpillar is green and fleshy with a white stripe on the sides of its green head. White diagonal stripes along the side of the body reach upward toward the rear end. A final, thicker stripe extends onto the long pointy horn. Adults are active from spring through early autumn and drink flower nectar.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Rounded insect body icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sphingidae
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          Genus: Manduca
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            Species: jasminearum
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Manduca jasminearum
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 84mm to 105mm (3.30" to 4.13")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gray; brown; black
Descriptors: round thorax; long streaks on wing; dark hindwing; big; huge; pointed wings; flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 84mm (3.3in) and 105mm (4.1in)
Lo: 84mm
Md: 94.5mm
Hi: 105mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Ash Sphinx may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Ash Sphinx. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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