Gaudy sphinx Eumorpha labruscae, copyright Caspar S.

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

The Sphingidae, hawk moths, are fast-flying moths that often have long proboscids 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.

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] AJ05
    |  |    |  i. s.: Protoparce cingulata Fabr. 1775 H01
    |  |    |         Pseudosphinx tetrio Linn. 1771 H01
    |  |    |--Sphingini AJ05
    |  |    `--Acherontiini RM01
    |  `--Smerinthinae RM01
    |       |  i. s.: Adhemarius KP19
    |       |           |--A. daphne KP19
    |       |           |--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 colligata KP19
    |       |--Smerinthini AJ05
    |       |--Ambulycini RM01
    |       `--Sphingulini [Sphingulina] RM01
    |            |--Sphingulus Staudinger 1887 P93
    |            |--Dolbinopsis Rothschild & Jordan 1903 P93
    |            |    `--*D. grisea (Hampson 1893) [=Pseudosphinx grisea] P93
    |            |--Kentrochrysalis Staudinger in Romanoff 1887 P93
    |            |    |--*K. streckeri (Staudinger 1880) [=Sphinx streckeri] P93
    |            |    `--K. elegans (Bang-Haas 1912) (see below for synonymy) P93
    |            `--Dolbina P93
    |                 |--D. inexacta (Walker 1856) P93
    |                 `--D. krikkeni AJ05
    `--Macroglossinae [Aellopina, Aellopodina, Asemanophorae, Dilophonotini, Macroglossiadae, Philampelinae] AJ05
         |  i. s.: Chromis erotus C70
         |         Cizara NC91 [incl. Microlophia Felder & Felder 1874 NS07]
         |           |--C. ardenia NC91
         |           `--C. sculpta (Felder & Felder 1874) [=*Microlophia sculpta] NS07
         |         Perigonia H01 [incl. Stenolophia Felder & Felder 1874 NS07]
         |           `--P. lusca (Fabricius 1777) [incl. *Stenolophia tenebrosa Felder & Felder 1874] NS07
         |         Erinnyis Hübner 1819 [incl. Dilophonota Burmeister 1856] P03
         |         Cephonodes Hübner 1819 P93
         |           |--C. hylas F92
         |           `--C. kingii NC91
         |--+--Hemaris RM01
         |  `--Enyo lugubris (Linnaeus 1771) KP19, P93
         `--+--Aellopos Hübner 1819 RM01, P93
            |    `--A. tantalus RM01
            `--+--Macroglossini RM01
               `--Eumorpha [Philampelini] RM01
                    |--E. anchemola (Cramer 1780) P93 [=Pholus anchemolus DS73]
                    |--E. fasciata DS73
                    |--E. labruscae DS73
                    |--E. pandorus DS73
                    |--E. satellitia DS73
                    |    |--E. s. satellitia DS73
                    |    `--E. s. posticatus DS73
                    `--E. triangulum DS73

Sphingidae incertae sedis:
  Xenosphingia jansei Jordan 1920 ONE03
  Ceridia NS07
    |--C. heuglini (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Smerinthus heuglini] NS07
    `--C. mira Rothschild & Jordan 1903 ONE03
  Meganoton analis (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Sphinx analis] NS07
  Euchloron megaera DS73
  Basiothia medea DS73
  Neococytius cluentius DS73
  Amblypterus gannascus DS73
  Hemeroplanes GE05
  Xanthopan morganii GE05
    |--X. m. morganii GE05
    `--X. m. praedicta GE05
  Cocytius DS73
    |--C. antaeus [incl. C. antaeus medor] DS73
    `--C. beelzebuth DS73
  Callionima DS73
    |--C. denticulata DS73
    |--C. innus DS73
    |--C. parce DS73
    `--C. ramsdeni DS73
  Oxyambulyx DS73
    |--O. dohertyi DS73
    |--O. liturata DS73
    |--O. maculifera DS73
    `--O. substrigilis DS73
         |--O. s. substrigilis DS73
         `--O. s. pryeri DS73
  Lophura hyas WM66
  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
  Nyceryx NS07
    |--N. hyposticta (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Ambulyx hyposticta] NS07
    `--N. magna (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Perigonia magna] NS07
  Eurypteryx Felder & Felder 1874 NS07
    `--*E. molucca Felder & Felder 1874 NS07
  Nephele NS07
    |--N. densoi (Keferstein 1870) [incl. Zonilia malgassica Felder & Felder 1874] NS07
    `--N. didyma (Fabricius 1775) P93
  Ampelophaga dolichoides (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Philampelus dolichoides] NS07
  Odontosida pusillus (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Smerinthus pusillus] NS07
  Unzela [incl. Cornipalpus Felder & Felder 1874] NS07
    `--U. japix NS07
         |--U. j. japix NS07
         `--U. j. discrepans Walker 1856 [incl. *Cornipalpus succinctus Felder & Felder 1874] NS07
  Ambylux wildei ZS10
  Angonyx papuana ZS10
  Polyptychus trisecta (Aurivillius 1901) P93
  Rhopalopsyche nycteris (Kollar 1848) P93
  Phyllosphingia dissimilis (Bremer 1861) P93
  Sagenosoma elsa G05
  Macroxilia cluentius R13

Kentrochrysalis elegans (Bang-Haas 1912) [=Dolbina elegans; incl. D. elegans steffensi Popescu-Gorj 1971] P93

*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.

[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.

[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.

Last updated: 21 February 2021.

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