Aellopos titan, Titan sphinx, White banded day sphinx
Updated as per More, Kitching and Cocucci's Hawkmoths of Argentina 2005, October, 2007
Updated as per All Leps Barcode of Life, October, 2007
Updated as per (Belize), November 2007
Updated as per Fauna Entomologica De Nicarauga, November 2007
Updated as per The Known Sphingidae of Costa Rica, November 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Linda Terrill (Ibera Marsh, Corrientes, Argentina, November 17, 2007) December 2008
Updated as per Sphingidae (Lepidoptera) de Venezuela, Compilado por: María Esperanza Chacín; December 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Ezequiel Nunez Bustos (San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina, November 25, 2009); December 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Gregory Nielsen (Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia, February 24, 2011); March 24, 2011
Updated as per French Guiana Systematics: Sphingidae; May 15, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Humberto Calero Mejia (Isla Gorgona, Cauca, Colombia, May 31, 2011; 0m); December 17, 2011

Aellopos titan
(Cramer, 1777) Sphinx
The Titan Sphinx or White-banded Day Sphinx

Aellopos titan male courtesy of Dan Janzen.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.


Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Dilophonotini, Burmeister, 1878
Genus: Aellopos Hubner, [1819] ...........
Species: titan Cramer, 1777


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copyright C. Odenkirk
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Aellopos titan, the Titan Sphinx (wingspan: 2 3/16 - 2 9/16 inches (5.4 - 6.5 cm)), is a strong flying, day sphinx found from Uruguay and northern Argentina north through Central America
Belize: Stann Creek, Toledo;
Nicaragua: Masaya;
Costa Rica: Puntarenas, Alajuela, Guanacaste, Limon, Cartago, Heredia, San Jose;
and the West Indies to the Florida Keys (probably misidentified, more likely tantalus, not likely to be in Florida, except perhaps as very rare strays.) The White-banded Day Sphinx strays north to Maine, and west to Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota and southern Arizona.

Surinam is given as the specimen type locality.

John Snyder confirms a single specimen in the Clemson University collection (Pickens County, South Carolina, way back in 1935).

Jean-Marc Pilliere sent me the image to the right from Cozumel, Mexico. The moth was found dead just after Hurricane Emily passed through in July, 2005.

A more complete distribution, which will be upgraded over time, includes
Surinam:(specimen type locality);
Belize: Stann Creek, Toledo;
Costa Rica: Guanacaste;
Colombia: Meta (GN); Cauca: Isla Gorgona (HCM)
probably Peru;
Bolivia: La Paz;
Argentina: Formosa, Misiones, Salta, Corrientes (LT);
Venezuela: Anzoategui, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Distrito Federal, Falcon, Guarico, Miranda, Portuguesa, Yaracuy, Zulia;
Guyana: Cacao, Saint-Georges de l'Oyopok;
French Guiana;
Brazil: Mato Grosso;
probably Uruguay.

Visit Aellopos titan, Ibera Marsh, Corrientes Province, Argentina, November 17, 2007, courtesy of Linda Terrill.

Visit Aellopos titan, San Ignacio, Misiones Province, Argentina, November 25, 2009, courtesy of Ezequiel Nunez Bustos.

Visit Aellopos titan (recto and verso), Isla Gorgona, Cauca, Colombia, May 31, 2011, 0m, courtesy of Humberto Calero Mejia.

Aellopos titan, nectaring at Mexican Bush Sage, Collin County, Texas,
5:00pm, October 31, courtesy of Kelly Delany.

The body is dark brown (greenish, dorsally on the thorax, white on undersides of same) with a wide white stripe across the abdomen. The wings are dark brown. The upperside of the forewing has a black spot at the end of the cell and two bands of translucent white spots. The upperside of the hindwing has pale patches along the costa and inner margin.

Visit Aellopos titan, Port O'Connor, Calhoun County, Texas, Brush Freeman.

Aellopos titan, Marshalltown, Iowa, September 2005, courtesy of John Jude.

Aellopos titan, Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia,
Km 13 via Acacias, 04°03’55.0 N 073°41’87.0 W
54mm, LFW = 26mm, February 24, 2011, 500m, courtesy of Gregory Nielsen.


In Costa Rica moths are taken in all months except February-March and October-November. The moth broods continuously in the tropics. Gregory Nielsen reports a February 24, 2011, flight in Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia. They have been reported in French Guiana in January and April, and probably fly there in other months as well.

In more northern locales there is one flight from June-October, but there are multiple broods in Florida.

Adults nectar on flowers, including including phlox, lantana, and stoppers. The flower below appears to be a butterfly bush. Paul Santo recorded this one nectaring on milkweed, July 4, 2006, in Washington County, Minnesota.

Aellopos titan, Marshalltown, Iowa, September 2005, courtesy of John Jude.


Adults eclose from pupae formed in shallow subterranean chambers.

Aellopos titan female courtesy of Dan Janzen.


Females call in the males with a pheromone released from a gland at the tip of the abdomen.


Yellow-green, translucent eggs are usually deposited singly on foliage or buds.

Within a few days, the deleloping larva can be seen through the eggshell.

Larvae feed on seven year apple, Casasia clusiifolia, common buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, and white indigoberry, Randia mitis.
Randia monantha, Randia aculeata, Albizzia adinocephala and Randia grandifolia, all in the madder family (Rubiaceae), also serve as hosts.

There are at least two color morphs, a green form and a much darker, reddish-brown form:

Caterpillars pupate in loose cocoons in shallow underground chambers.

Pupae are dark, smooth and shiny, and relatively thin considering the stout appearance of the moth. This one shows parasite damage.

There are a number of parasites that attack titan. Cryptophion (Ichneumonidae), Belvosia, Drino piceiventris (Tachinidae) are a few.

The pronunciation of scientific names is troublesome for many. The "suggestion" at the top of the page is merely a suggestion. It is based on commonly accepted English pronunciation of Greek names and/or some fairly well accepted "rules" for latinized scientific names.

The suggested pronunciations, on this page and on other pages, are primarily put forward to assist those who hear with internal ears as they read.

There are many collectors from different countries whose intonations and accents would be different.

Some of the early describers/namers chose genus and species names indicating some character of the insect, but more often, they simply chose names from Greek or Roman mythology or history.

Those species names which end in "ensis" indicate a specimen locale, and those which end in "i", pronounced "eye", honour a contempory friend/collector/etc.

In Greek Mythology, Aello, also known as Aellopos, is one of the harpies. Her name means 'The Stormy One'.

The species name "titan" is probably for one of Saturn's many moons, or it could be for Titan, one of the giant children of Uranus.

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