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Streaked Sphinx Moth (Protambulyx strigilis)

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

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Image Credit: Rev Daniel Elis Axelrod cc 2020, taken in southern FL
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Image Credit: Griffins, taken in Seffner, FL
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This huge tropical moth is rarely seen outside of Mexico and the southernmost part of Florida.

Updated: 01/06/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Like other Sphinx moths, the Streaked Sphinx is large and has streamlined wings. It is mostly brown with dark brown edging on the thorax. A dark dot sits on either side of the thorax on the wing, and a smudged dot beneath that one. The hindwings are orange and may be concealed by the larger forewings. The inner edge of the forewings has purple streaks which may also run along the veins in the center. Tapered points on the forewings and a curved shape give the moth a sleek profile.

The caterpillar is plump and green with a flat green head lined with a long white stripe on each side. A white line by the rear end extends upward toward a long horn, which looks like a spike or spine. Pale yellow lines run diagonally down the sides of the body on each segment, barely touching a light blue dot. The top of the horn has blue on it as well. The rear end is covered in small black specks. This larva feeds on plants in cashew family.

The Streaked Sphinx keeps to hot, humid, tropical areas like the southern tip of Florida and Mexico. Occasionally, an adult may stray north. It is also found in Central and South America. When flying, its orange hindwings show flashes of color, but when resting on a tree, it may be inconspicuous thanks to its coloring despite its large size.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sphingidae
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          Genus: Protambulyx
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            Species: strigilis

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Protambulyx strigilis
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 108mm to 130mm (4.25" to 5.11")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; purple; orange
Descriptors: dot; orange underneath; pointed wings; sleek; huge; big; flying; tropical

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 108mm (4.3in) and 130mm (5.1in)
Lo: 108mm
Md: 119mm
Hi: 130mm

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 Streaked Sphinx Moth 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 Streaked Sphinx Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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