Caterpillar of the day - Sphinx chersis (Sphingidae)

Sphinx chersis (Sphingidae)

Also known as the Great Ask Sphinx or Northern Ash Sphinx, Sphinx chersis was another species that I had a chance to examine at the Canadian National Collection of Insects (CNC). As you could probably guess from the name, the caterpillars of this species eat the foliage from various species with in the Olive family, including ash, lilac, and privet. According to Wagner (2005) these guys are occasionally found hanging on a leaf blade's underside and can get to 10 cm long; I observed a larger specimen at the CNC collection at 10.5 cm long.

Aside: If you are interested in caterpillars and don't have a copy of Wagner (2005) go out and get it today. The book is a fantastic guide to common and charismatic species, and is probably the best commercially available caterpillar ID guide for Canada and the USA. It has adult photos for most of the species as well.

I don't have a live Sphinx chersis caterpillar photo to show you, so here are some links to good photos:

I do however have some great images of the inflated larvae from the CNC. Here you really get a sense of how well inflation preserves the larvae shape and colour.

Sphinx chersis (Sphingidae), box of inflated larvae form the CNC

Sphinx chersis (Sphingidae), collected Sept 25 1902

Sphinx chersis (Sphingidae), inflated.

Sphinx chersis (Sphingidae), inflated

Sphinx chersis (Sphingidae), inflated

...and once again a relatively drab adult.
Sphinx chersis (Sphingidae), pinned adult [from]


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