The adult's wingspan is between 70 and 85 mm. It is often confused with the hermit sphinx (Sphinx eremitus) throughout their overlaying areas, but unlike S. eremitus it has no white spot. The forewing of this species is gray-brown with black streaks along the veins, interrupted by white lines along the outer margin. The hindwing is patterned with black and white bands.
It was previously thought that the larvae of this species fed on both White Ash (Fraxinus americana) and Blueberry (Vaccinium), but recent observations suggest that the only larval host plant is black ash (Fraxinus nigra) which grows at the edges of swamps. Phlox (Phlox spp.) and bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) are the preferred nectar sources. Adults fly much later in the year than other sphinx moth species; most adults are collected in very late July or early August. The black patches on the sides of the larvae are thought to mimic the curled leaves of black ash.
- "Sphinx canadensis Boisduval 1875 - EOL". Retrieved 2009-10-23.
- "CATE Creating a Taxonomic eScience - Sphingidae". Cate-sphingidae.org. Retrieved 2011-11-01.[permanent dead link]
- "Species Sphinx canadensis - Canadian Sphinx - Hodges#7807 - BugGuide". Retrieved 2009-10-23.
- "Species Detail - BMNA". Retrieved 2009-10-23.
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