Sphingidae of Hawaii

Tinostoma smaragditis, The Green Sphinx,
courtesy of D.J. Preston & A. Heddle, HBS

Of the thirteen species/subspecies that I have listed for Hawaii, only two (Agrius cingulata and Hyles lineata) are also found on the continental United States.

Manduca blackburni, Tinostoma smaragditis, Hyles calida calida, Hyles calida hawaiiensis, Hyles wilsoni perkinsi and Hyles wilsoni wilsoni are endemic species/subspecies (found only on Hawaii).

The other five species are more closely associated with Asian/Australian fauna: Deilephila nerii, Hippotion rosetta, Macroglossum pyrrhostictum, Psilogramma menephron and Theretra nessus.

I have used images and information primarily from Tony Pittaway's websites as well as Don Herbison-Evans website to shape the pages linked below.

Jean Haxaire and Ian Kitching recently helped with identification of images of Hippotion rosetta.

Agrius cingulata (Fabricius, 1775); Pink-spotted Hawk Moth

Deilephila nerii (Linnaeus, 1758); Oleander Hawk Moth

Hippotion boerhaviae (Fabricius, 1775); Hippotion Sphinx Moth; file not created yet; (DR)

Hippotion rosetta (Swinhoe, 1892); Vine Hawk Moth (IJK)

Hyles calida calida (Butler, 1881); Hawaiian Sphinx

Hyles calida hawaiiensis (Rothschild & Jordan, 1915)

Hyles lineata (Fabricius, 1775); White-lined Sphinx

Hyles perkinsi (Swezey, 1920); Perkins' Sphinx

Hyles wilsoni (Rothschild, 1894); Wilson's Sphinx

Macroglossum pyrrhosticta Butler, 1875; Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Manduca blackburni (Butler, 1880); Blackburn's Sphinx

Psilogramma menephron (Cramer, 1780); Gray Hawk Moth; Privet Hawk Moth

Theretra nessus (Drury, 1773); Yam Hawk Moth

Tinostoma smaragditis (Meyrick, 1899); Green Sphinx

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This page is brought to you by Bill Oehlke and the WLSS. Pages are on space rented from Bizland. If you would like to become a "Patron of the Sphingidae Site", contact Bill.

Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.

Deilephila nerii, Waikoloa, Hawaii, January 18, 2007,
courtesy of Michael F. O'Brien

Waikoloa is on the western and leeward/dry side of Hawaii's Big Island. The above images are of the same moth. One image is taken under incandescent lighting while the other is under flourescent lighting. It is interesting to see how different lighting reflects different scale colouration on the wings.

Michael writes, "We do have four constantly blooming oleanders on the property, also Periwinkle (Vinca). And several oleander hedges up and down our street."

Having adult nectar sources and larval hostplants in close proximity is a good way to invite and witness local lepidoptera.

Deilephila nerii, Kona, Hawaii, December 14, 2011,
courtesy of Nancy Sommers.

Psilogramma menephron, Mana Road, Waikoloa, Hawaii, January 7, 2007,
courtesy of Michael F. O'Brien

Michael and his wife Arline have also had visits of the Pink-spotted Hawkmoth, and Neal Gary sends the Pink-spotted Hawkmoth larval image below.

Agrius cingulata fifth instar, March 6, 2008, courtesy of Neal Gary.

Neal writes, "I live on the Big Island, just south of Honomolino in south Kona district. I found this 5" larvae feeding on my Turbina corymbosa (Convolvulaceae). It is the third one in two years. Would you please identify it for me. You can use the pic for your web site if you want or I would be willing to disturb the larvae for some better shots if you would like. Too bad it's in its final (I'm assuming) instar."

Larvae of Agrius cingulata are very variable.

Agrius cingulata, Honolulu, Hawaii,
January 21, 2011, courtesy of Dan Hirota.

Manduca blackburni green form, Puu o Kali, Maui, Hawaii,
November 23, 2002, courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr.

Manduca blackburni brown form, Kanaha Beach, Maui, Hawaii,
December 14, 2006, courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr.

Eric Hossler sends the following sightings:

Macroglossum pyrrhosticta - adults feeding at flowers in Pahoa, Big Island, October 2010, at dusk. Many adults also at light in Pahoa town (at a restaurant - easily a dozen found at one address). I did not see any adults at flowers during the day but I didn't spend a lot of time looking.

Deilephila nerii - incredibly common larvae in Kihei, Maui, on oleander, March 2011. Eggs, early larvae, and fully mature larvae observed all at the same time.

Manduca blackburni - fully mature larvae very commonly observed on Nicotiana glauca, on Maui, along Mokulele highway, March 2011. Damage to the plant was pretty easily spotted, and larvae were right on the tips of the branches. I also saw one ova in October 2010, and leaf damage, but both of these could have been old.

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