Updated as per More, Kitching and Cocucci's Hawkmoths of Argentina 2005, December 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Gregory Nielsen (Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia, January 15, 2011, 500m); February 7, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Ben Trott (Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico); April 21, 2012

Erinnyis ello
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Ello Sphinx Moth

Erinnyis ello female courtesy of Paolo Mazzei.

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


Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Dilophonotini, Burmeister, 1878
Genus: Erinnyis Hubner, [1819] ...........
Species: ello Linnaeus, 1758


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The Ello Sphinx Moth, Erinnyis ello (Wing span: 2 15/16 - 3 5/16 inches (7.5 - 8.5 cm)), flies in tropical and subtropical lowlands and foothills from
Argentina: Catamarca; Cordoba; Corrientes; Jujuy, La Rioga; Misiones: Osununu; Salta and Tucuman;
Bolivia: Beni, La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz; and
Brazil; Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso (JvB);
north through
Colombia: Meta; and
Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to
south Florida, Texas, Arizona, southern California, and southern Nevada. This species strays northward from July through October. Ben Trott sends a pupal image from mid April.

India (in error) is given as the specimen type locality. West Indies was probably intended.

Erinnyis ello female, Ottley Plantation, St. Kitts, courtesy of Tony and Pat James.

The abdomen has very distinct gray and black bands. The female's forewing upperside is pale gray with a few dark dots near the outer margin. The male's forewing upperside is dark gray and brown with a black band running from the base to the tip. In both sexes, the hindwing upperside is orange with a wide black border.

Visit Stepanie Sanchez's Erinnyis ello images from southern Florida.

Visit Shelby and Kevin Heeter`s Erinnyis ello images from Islamorada, Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida.

Visit Erinnyis ello, Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia, courtesy of Gregory Nielsen.

Erinnyis ello male, Ottley Plantation, St. Kitts, courtesy of Tony and Pat James.

Erinnyis ello, north Misiones Province, Argentina,
December 2005, courtesy of Oz Rittner.


Erinnyis ello broods continuously in the tropics and in south Florida.

I have seen an image from Merida, Venezuela, from mid January.

Johan van't Bosch reports a September flight in Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Milena Nascimento sent me an image of a specimen collected on March 28, 2004, while nectaring at dusk on flowers, including bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) and Asystasia gangetica in Parque Nacional da Restinga de Jurubatiba, Carapebus, RJ, Brazil.

Nigel Venters has taken them in Cordoba Province, Argentina in November-December. They probably fly in other months as well.


Adults eclose from pupae formed in loose cocoons spun among surface litter.

Erinnyis ello pupa courtesy of Dan Janzen.


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

Erinnyis ello male courtesy of Dan Janzen.

Erinnyis ello female courtesy of Dan Janzen.


Larvae feed on papaya (Carica papaya) in the Caricaceae family and on Cnidoscolus angustidens and other plants in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) including poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), guava (Psidium species) in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) and on also saffron plum (Bumelia angustifolia/Bumelia celastrina) in the Sapotaceae family. : EUPHORBIACEAE. Manilkara bahamensis has also been reported as a host as have Willow Bustic (Bumelia salicifolia) and Painted Leaf (Poinsettia heterophylla).

Ben Trott writes, "I've also attached a photo of an Erinnyis ello egg on Papaya (there were five on the same small sapling, one per leaf, laid on the upperside, in full sunlight), and an Erinnyis ello larva in its third instar also on the same tree."

Erinnyis ello egg, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Erinnyis ello third instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Erinnyis ello green form courtesy of Dan Janzen.

Erinnyis ello dorsal view courtesy of Dan Janzen.

Erinnyis ello dark form courtesy of Dan Janzen.

Erinnyis ello green form courtesy of Bruce Walsh.

Erinnyis ello, October 24, 2005,
Bentsen-RGV State Park, Mission, Hidalgo County, courtesy of Mike Quinn.

Larvae can be quite varied as per the intermediate form below.

Erinnyis ello, October 25, 2006, western Hidalgo County, courtesy of Gil Quintanilla,
tentative id by Bill Oehlke, confirmed by Jim Tuttle.

Erinnyis ello, fifth instar on silver buttonwood bush, Conocarpus erectus,
Indialantic, Brevard County, Florida, October 13, 2008, courtesy of Donna Peters,
tentative id by Bill Oehlke, confirmed by Jim Tuttle.

Erinnyis ello female pupa, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Donna was successful in getting the larva to pupate. On November 10, 2008, this beautiful male emerged.

Erinnyis ello male, Indialantic, Brevard County, Florida, November 10, 2008, courtesy of Donna Peters.

Visit Miami-Dade County, Florida, to see very nice images of larvae and adult male.

Visit additional Erinnyis ello larval images, Indialantic, Brevard County, Florida, courtesy of Donna Peters.

Visit Erinnyis ello fifth instar and adult, ex-pupa male, Itanhandu, Minas Gerais, Brazil, November 21, 2008, courtesy of Larry Valentine.

Visit Erinnyis ello male, Osununu, Misiones, Argentina, March 2009, courtesy of Ezequiel Bustos.

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