Gaudy sphinx Eumorpha labruscae, copyright Caspar S.

Belongs within: Bombycoidea.
Contains: Sphingini, Acherontiini, Smerinthini, Ambulycini, Hemaris, Macroglossini.

The Sphingidae, hawkmoths, are fast-flying moths that often have a long proboscis used for taking nectar from flowers whilst hovering. This proboscis may be several times the length of the remainder of the moth, allowing it to maintain a safe distance from potential predators while feeding. However, in members of the Smerinthinae the proboscis is often atrophied or absent.

Members of the subfamily Macroglossinae are characterised by a patch of sensory microtrichia on the inner surface of the first segment of the labial palp. Sphinginae and Smerinthinae are united by genitalia with complex excrescences on the sacculus in males, and both antevaginal and postvaginal lamellae in females. Conversely, Macroglossinae have a single apical process on the sacculus in males and a postvaginal lamella only in females (Pittaway 1993). Macroglossines have been divided between Dilophonotini, in which male genitalia have a marked medial furrow on the uncus, and the lamella postvaginalis is broad and developed in females, and Macroglossini, in which the lamella postvaginalis is short (Pittaway 1993), but the former tribe may be paraphyletic to the latter.

Characters (from Nielsen & Common 1991): Large; ocelli and chaetosemata absent; antennae usually thickened, sometimes clavate or hooked apically, ciliate, serrate, or shortly pectinate in male, filiform in female; proboscis usually strong, often long; maxillary palps one-segmented; labial palps thick, ascending, appressed to frons, with unscaled areas on inner surface, basal segment often with patch of sensory hairs on inner surface; epiphysis present, tibial spurs 0-2-4 or rarely 0-2-2; fore wing long, narrow, CuP absent, one other vein usually absent, 1A+2A forked at base, retinaculum rarely absent; hind wing much shorter than fore wing, with anal lobe, frenulum usually strong. Sc connected to Rs by R1 at middle of cell, Sc+R1 approaching Rs beyond cell, CuP absent, two anal veins; tympanal organs absent; abdomen large, fusiform, posterior margins of segments usually with flattened spines or stiff, modified scales. Egg of flat type. Larva without conspicuous setae, abdominal segment 8 usually with spine-like dorsal horn, sometime rudimentary in final instar, crochets biordinal, in a mesoseries, anal prolegs massive; feeding exposed in daytime. Pupa fusiform, mouth-parts displaced anteriorly, cremaster prominent, rarely armed; in cell in soil, or in flimsy cocoon amongst detritus.

<==Sphingidae [Sphingides, Sphingites, Sphingoidea]
|--+--Sphinginae [Semanophorae]P93
| | | i. s.: Protoparce cingulata Fabr. 1775H01
| | | Pseudosphinx tetrio Linn. 1771H01
| | |--SphinginiP93
| | `--AcherontiiniRM01
| `--SmerinthinaeRM01
| | i. s.: AdhemariusKP19
| | |--A. daphneKP19
| | |--A. eurysthenes (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Ambulyx eurysthenes]NS07
| | |--A. gannascus (Stoll 1790) [incl. Ambulyx rostralis (de Boisduval 1870)]NS07
| | `--A. tigrina (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Ambulyx tigrina]NS07
| | Parum colligataKP19
| |--SmerinthiniP93
| |--AmbulyciniRM01
| `--Sphingulini [Sphingulina]RM01
| |--Sphingulus Staudinger 1887P93
| |--Dolbinopsis Rothschild & Jordan 1903P93
| | `--*D. grisea (Hampson 1893) [=Pseudosphinx grisea]P93
| |--Kentrochrysalis Staudinger in Romanoff 1887P93
| | |--*K. streckeri (Staudinger 1880) [=Sphinx streckeri]P93
| | `--K. elegans (Bang-Haas 1912) [=Dolbina elegans; incl. D. elegans steffensi Popescu-Gorj 1971]P93
| `--DolbinaP93
| |--D. inexacta (Walker 1856)P93
| `--D. krikkeniAJ05
`--Macroglossinae [Aellopina, Aellopodina, Asemanophorae, Dilophonotini, Macroglossiadae, Philampelinae]P93
| i. s.: Chromis erotusC70
| CizaraNC91 [incl. Microlophia Felder & Felder 1874NS07]
| |--C. ardeniaNC91
| `--C. sculpta (Felder & Felder 1874) [=*Microlophia sculpta]NS07
| PerigoniaH01 [incl. Stenolophia Felder & Felder 1874NS07]
| `--P. lusca (Fabricius 1777) [incl. *Stenolophia tenebrosa Felder & Felder 1874]NS07
| Erinnyis Hübner 1819 [incl. Dilophonota Burmeister 1856]P93
| |--E. elloPP72
| | |--E. e. elloPP72
| | `--E. e. encantadaPP72
| `--E. obscuraPP72
| |--E. o. obscuraPP72
| `--E. o. conformisPP72
| Cephonodes Hübner 1819P93
| |--C. hylasF92
| `--C. kingiiNC91
| `--Enyo lugubris (Linnaeus 1771)KP19, P93
`--+--Aellopos Hübner 1819RM01, P93
| `--A. tantalusRM01
`--Eumorpha [Philampelini]RM01
|--E. anchemola (Cramer 1780)P93 [=Pholus anchemolusDS73]
|--E. fasciataDS73
|--E. labruscaeDS73
|--E. pandorusDS73
|--E. satellitiaDS73
| |--E. s. satellitiaDS73
| `--E. s. posticatusDS73
`--E. triangulumDS73

Sphingidae incertae sedis:
Xenosphingia jansei Jordan 1920ONE03
|--C. heuglini (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Smerinthus heuglini]NS07
`--C. mira Rothschild & Jordan 1903ONE03
Meganoton analis (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Sphinx analis]NS07
Euchloron megaeraDS73
Basiothia medeaDS73
Neococytius cluentiusDS73
Amblypterus gannascusDS73
Xanthopan morganiiGE05
|--X. m. morganiiGE05
`--X. m. praedictaGE05
|--C. antaeus [incl. C. antaeus medor]DS73
`--C. beelzebuthDS73
|--C. denticulataDS73
|--C. innusDS73
|--C. parceDS73
`--C. ramsdeniDS73
|--O. dohertyiDS73
|--O. liturataDS73
|--O. maculiferaDS73
`--O. substrigilisDS73
|--O. s. substrigilisDS73
`--O. s. pryeriDS73
Lophura hyasWM66
Pachygonidia [incl. Pachygonia Felder & Felder 1874]NS07
`--P. caliginosa (de Boisduval 1870) [=*Pachygonia caliginosa]NS07
Aleuron [incl. Tylognathus Felder & Felder 1874]NS07
|--A. carinata (Walker 1856) [incl. *Tylognathus philampeloides Felder & Felder 1874]NS07
`--A. prominens (Walker 1856) [incl. Tylognathus smerinthoides Felder & Felder 1874]NS07
|--N. hyposticta (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Ambulyx hyposticta]NS07
`--N. magna (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Perigonia magna]NS07
Eurypteryx Felder & Felder 1874NS07
`--*E. molucca Felder & Felder 1874NS07
|--N. densoi (Keferstein 1870) [incl. Zonilia malgassica Felder & Felder 1874]NS07
`--N. didyma (Fabricius 1775)P93
|--A. dolichoides (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Philampelus dolichoides]NS07
`--A. rubigonosa Bremer & Grey 1852P93
Odontosida pusillus (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Smerinthus pusillus]NS07
Unzela [incl. Cornipalpus Felder & Felder 1874]NS07
`--U. japixNS07
|--U. j. japixNS07
`--U. j. discrepans Walker 1856 [incl. *Cornipalpus succinctus Felder & Felder 1874]NS07
Ambylux wildeiZS10
Angonyx papuanaZS10
Polyptychus trisecta (Aurivillius 1901)P93
Rhopalopsyche nycteris (Kollar 1848)P93
Phyllosphingia dissimilis (Bremer 1861)P93
Sagenosoma elsaG05
Macroxilia cluentiusR13
Pholus labruscaePP72
|--P. l. labruscaePP72
`--P. l. yupanquiiPP72
Macrosila tetrioC90

*Type species of generic name indicated


[AJ05] Abang, F., & A. M. Jackson. 2005. A list of hawk-moths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) from Gunung Murud, Sarawak. Serangga 10 (1–2): 127–132.

[C90] Caracciolo, M. 1890. Détails complémentaires sur les métamorphoses de lépidoptères de Trinidad. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France, 6e série 9: clxxviii.

[C70] Common, I. F. B. 1970. Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers pp. 765–866. Melbourne University Press.

[DS73] Dickens, M., & E. Storey. 1973. The World of Moths. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.: New York.

[F92] Fan Z. 1992. Key to the Common Flies of China 2nd ed. Science Press: Beijing.

[GE05] Grimaldi, D., & M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press: New York.

[G05] Grissell, E. E. 2005. A review of North American species of Microdontomerus Crawford (Torymidae: Hymenoptera). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 14 (1): 22–65.

[H01] Hampson, G. F. 1901. The Lepidoptera-Phalaenae of the Bahamas. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 246–261.

[KP19] Kawahara, A. Y., D. Plotkin, M. Espeland, K. Meusemann, E. F. A. Toussaint, A. Donath, F. Gimnich, P. B. Frandsen, A. Zwick, M. dos Reis, J. R. Barber, R. S. Peters, S. Liu, X. Zhou, C. Mayer, L. Podsiadlowski, C. Storer, J. E. Yack, B. Misof & J. W. Breinholt. 2019. Phylogenomics reveals the evolutionary timing and pattern of butterflies and moths. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 116 (45): 22657–22663.

[NS07] Nässig, W. A., & W. Speidel. 2007. On the authorships of the Lepidoptera Atlas of the “Reise der Novara”, with a list of the taxa of Bombycoidea [s. l.] therein described (Insecta, Lepidoptera, Bombycoidea). Senckenbergiana Biologica 87 (1): 63–74.

[NC91] Nielsen, E. S., & I. F. B. Common. 1991. Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 817–915. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[ONE03] Oberprieler, R. G., W. A. Nässig & E. D. Edwards. 2003. Ebbepterote, a new genus for the Australian ‘Eupterote’ expansa (T. P. Lucas), with a revised classification of the family Eupterotidae (Lepidoptera). Invertebrate Systematics 17: 99–110.

[PP72] Parkin, P., D. T. Parkin, A. W. Ewing & H. A. Ford. 1972. A report on the arthropods collected by the Edinburgh University Galapagos Islands expedition, 1968. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 48 (2): 100–107.

[P93] Pittaway, A. R. 1993. The Hawkmoths of the Western Palaearctic. Harley Books: Colchester.

[RM01] Regier, J. C., C. Mitter, T. P. Friedlander & R. S. Peigler. 2001. Re: phylogenetic relationships in Sphingidae (Insecta: Lepidoptera): initial evidence from two nuclear genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 20 (2): 311–316.

[R13] Reuter, O. M. 1913. Lebensgewohnheiten und Instinkte der Insekten bis zum Erwachen der sozialen Instinkte. R. Friedländer & Sohn: Berlin.

[WM66] Wallace, A. R., & F. Moore. 1866. List of lepidopterous insects collected at Takow, Formosa, by Mr. R. Swinhoe. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 355–365.

[ZS10] Zborowski, P., & R. Storey. 2010. A Field Guide to Insects in Australia 3rd ed. Reed New Holland: Sydney.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *