Species Details

Sphinx poecila

University of Alberta E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum Read more about this collection »

Common NamePoecila Sphinx SeasonalityAdults are on the wing in Alberta from late May through early July. IdentificationA large (6.5-9.0 cm wingspan), long-winged, heavy-bodied dark grey moth. The forewings are dark grey and black with a number of fine black horizontal streaks, and the veins are faintly marked with black scales. There is usually a small white spot in the forewing cell, and the fringe is white with some black checkering. The hindwings are black with a lighter grey basal patch and median band and a white fringe. The thorax is black with grey along the sides, and the abdomen has a series of large, lateral grey and black spots. S. poecila is similar in pattern to S. vashti and S. chersis, but much darker grey overall. S. drupiferarum is two-tone black and grey. The very closely related S. gordius has been found as far west as central Saskatchewan and may well turn up in Alberta. In poecila, the submarginal area maintains the same general ground color as the rest of the dorsal forewing, while the submarginal area in gordius is distinctly darker than the ground color of the remainder of the wing.

Scientific Name Sphinx poecila Common Name Poecila Sphinx Habitat Mesic boreal forest, bogs and fens. Seasonality Adults are on the wing in Alberta from late May through early July. Identification
A large (6.5-9.0 cm wingspan), long-winged, heavy-bodied dark grey moth. The forewings are dark grey and black with a number of fine black horizontal streaks, and the veins are faintly marked with black scales. …
A large (6.5-9.0 cm wingspan), long-winged, heavy-bodied dark grey moth. The forewings are dark grey and black with a number of fine black horizontal streaks, and the veins are faintly marked with black scales. There is usually a small white spot in the forewing cell, and the fringe is white with some black checkering. The hindwings are black with a lighter grey basal patch and median band and a white fringe. The thorax is black with grey along the sides, and the abdomen has a series of large, lateral grey and black spots. S. poecila is similar in pattern to S. vashti and S. chersis, but much darker grey overall. S. drupiferarum is two-tone black and grey. The very closely related S. gordius has been found as far west as central Saskatchewan and may well turn up in Alberta. In poecila, the submarginal area maintains the same general ground color as the rest of the dorsal forewing, while the submarginal area in gordius is distinctly darker than the ground color of the remainder of the wing.
Life History
Poecila sphinx are largely nocturnal and come to light, but have also been observed nectaring at blossoms during the day. There is a single brood each year. The larvae are solitary defoliators, and the pupae…
Poecila sphinx are largely nocturnal and come to light, but have also been observed nectaring at blossoms during the day. There is a single brood each year. The larvae are solitary defoliators, and the pupae overwinter in the soil. It is considered by some to be the most common sphinx moth in Canada.
Conservation A locally common widespread species; no reasons for concern. Diet Info No Alberta data; elsewhere larch (Larix laricina), sweetfern (Myrica gale), meadowsweet (Spiraea sp), and blueberry (Vaccinium sp.). Range
Mainly Boreal, from the Maritimes west to the Alberta foothills. The southern limits of occurrence are uncertain owing to the confusion in the literature with S. gordius. In Alberta, poecila has been collected…
Mainly Boreal, from the Maritimes west to the Alberta foothills. The southern limits of occurrence are uncertain owing to the confusion in the literature with S. gordius. In Alberta, poecila has been collected throughout the Boreal forest region, north to the Peace River and Lake Athabasca areas, south to Nordegg and Edmonton.

Citation

Page Citation for Sphinx poecila

Page Citation

"Sphinx poecila, University of Alberta E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum." University of Alberta Museums Search Site, https://search.museums.ualberta.ca/g/2-189. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Kingdom Animalia Phylum Arthropoda Class Hexapoda Subclass Insecta Order Lepidoptera Suborder Ditrysia Superfamily Sphingoidea Family Sphingidae Genus Sphinx Species Sphinx poecila
This hierarchy is created from our museum records, it may not always accurately reflect modern taxonomies.

Taxonomic Hierarchy for University of Alberta E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum