Gardenia bee-hawk Cephonodes kingii, copyright Annette.

Belongs within: Macrolepidoptera.
Contains: Sphingini, Smerinthini, Macroglossini, Hemaris.

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. Sphingids may be divided between two subfamilies based on the presence (Macroglossinae) or absence (Sphinginae) of 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
    |    |--Sphingini AJ05
    |    `--Smerinthini AJ05
    `--Macroglossinae [Asemanophorae, Macroglossiadae, Philampelinae] AJ05
         |  i. s.: Chromis erotus C70
         |         Cizara C70 [incl. Microlophia Felder & Felder 1874 NS07]
         |           |--C. ardenia NC91
         |           `--C. sculpta (Felder & Felder 1874) [=*Microlophia sculpta] NS07
         |--Macroglossini AJ05
         `--Dilophonotini P93
              |  i. s.: Erinnyis Hübner 1819 [incl. Dilophonota Burmeister 1856] P03
              `--Aellopodina [Aellopina] P93
                   |--Hemaris P93
                   |--Aellopos Hübner 1819 P93
                   `--Cephonodes Hübner 1819 P93
                        `--C. kingii NC91

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
  Pseudosphinx tetrio DS73
  Euchloron megaera DS73
  Basiothia medea DS73
  Neococytius cluentius DS73
  Amblypterus gannascus DS73
  Hemeroplanes GE05
  Manduca NS07
    |--M. albiplaga DS73
    |--M. quinquemaculata (Haworth 1803) P93
    |--M. rustica DS73
    |--M. sesquiplex (de Boisduval 1870) [=Sphinx sesquiplex] NS07
    `--M. sexta (Linnaeus 1763) P93
  Pachylia DS73
    |--P. ficus DS73
    `--P. syces DS73
  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
  Eumorpha DS73
    |--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
  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
  Adhemarius NS07
    |--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
  Odontosida pusillus (Felder & Felder 1874) [=Smerinthus pusillus] NS07
  Perigonia [incl. Stenolophia Felder & Felder 1874] NS07
    `--P. lusca (Fabricius 1777) [incl. *Stenolophia tenebrosa Felder & Felder 1874] NS07
  Unzela [incl. Cornipalpus Felder & Felder 1874] NS07
    `--U. japix discrepans Walker 1856 [incl. *Cornipalpus succinctus Felder & Felder 1874] NS07
  Ambylux wildei ZS10
  Angonyx papuana ZS10
  Ceratomia undulosa (Walker 1856) P93
  Polyptychus trisecta (Aurivillius 1901) P93
  Enyo lugubris (Linnaeus 1771) P93
  Rhopalopsyche nycteris (Kollar 1848) P93
  Phyllosphingia dissimilis (Bremer 1861) P93
  Stygia L02

*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.

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

[L02] Latreille, P. A. 1802. Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière des crustacés et des insectes vol. 3. Familles naturelles des genres. F. Dufart: Paris.

[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.

[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: 16 August 2017.

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