Updated as per personal communication with Johan van't Bosch (Mato Grosso, Brazil, September 13), March 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Tony James (Gamboa, Panama; June flight), October 2008
Updated as per personal communication with Jose Monzon (Guatemala); May 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Ezequiel Bustos (Aguas Blancas, Salta, Argentina, 405m); December 2009
Updated as per AN ANNOTATED CHECKLIST OF THE SPHINGIDAE OF BOLIVIA, December 2009
Updated as per More, Kitching and Cocucci's Hawkmoths of Argentina 2005, December 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Larry Valentine (Itanhandu, Minas Gerais, Brazil, November 2009); December 17, 2009
updated as per personal communication with Gregory Nielsen (Villavicentio, Meta, Colombia, January 15, 2011, 500m); February 6, 2011
Updated as per CATE (Mexico south to northern Argentina and southern Brazil); February 6, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Ben Trott (Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico); February 27, 2012
Updated as per personal communication with Elisabet Mercado, Mexico City, Mexico, September 5, 2012

Pachylia ficus
Fig Sphinx

Pachylia ficus male courtesy of Dan Janzen.

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

TAXONOMY:

Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Dilophonotini, Burmeister, 1878
Genus: Pachylia Walker, 1856 ...........
Species: ficus Linnaeus, 1758

MIDI MUSIC

.....It's a Wonderful World.....
copyright C. Odenkirk
ON.OFF
<bgsound src="world.mid" LOOP=FOREVER>

DISTRIBUTION:

The Fig sphinx, Pachylia ficus (Wing span: 4 3/4 - 5 1/2 inches (12 - 14 cm)) flies from
Uruguay (EB);
Brazil: Paraiba, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais;
Bolivia: Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, La Paz;
Argentina: Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Formosa, Jujuy, Salta (EB), Misiones;
Colombia: Meta (GN)) north;
through Central America: Panama to Mexico: Quintana Roo (BT), probalby throughout Mexico, and the West Indies to Florida, southern Texas, and southern Arizona. It occasionally strays as far north as Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Greg Nielsen sends the image of this very "green" specimen from Colombia.

Pachylia ficus, Villavicentio, Km 13 via AcaciasMeta, Colombia,
040355.0 N 0734187.0 W, 500m, January 15, 2011, lfw=55mm, courtesy of Gregory Nielsen.

Visit Pachylia ficus, Brownsville, Cameron County, courtesy of Gus A. Rentfro.

Visit Pachylia ficus, Itanhandu, Minas Gerais, Brazil, November 2009, courtesy of Larry Valentine.

The upperside of the forewing is orangish brown with a paler patch along the costa at the tip.

The upperside of the hindwing is orange to orangish brown with a black outer border, a black median band, and a white spot on the outer margin near the body.

Pachylia ficus Yasuni, Ecuador, (September 10, 2002 - 11:55 PM) in typical resting pose, courtesy of Steve Graser.

FLIGHT TIMES:

There are several flights throughout the year in the tropics, peninsular Florida, and southern Texas. Johan van't Bosch reports a September flight in Cristalino Jungle Lodge, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Larry Valentine reports a November flight in Itanhandu, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Tony James reports a June flight in Panama.

Ezequiel Bustos reports it from Argentina: Salta (405m).

Alexander von Buldring reports a February flight in Paraiba, Brazil.

Pachylia ficus, Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil,
40m, February 26, 2009, 8:40pm, coourtesy of Alexander von Buldring.

Adult like to nectar from flowers, including Asystasia gangetica, starting just before sunset.


Pachylia ficus, female, Bonaire, January 28, 2005,
courtesy of Abraham Potappel, via Diane McIntyre.

ECLOSION:

Larvae pupate in thin walled cocoons under leaf litter.

Pachylia ficus female courtesy of Dan Janzen.

SCENTING AND MATING:

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

EGGS, LARVAE, PUPAE:

Females feed and lay eggs on fig leaves, especially Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea). Ficus carica, Ficus microcarpa, Ficus religiosa, Ficus pumila, Ficus gamelleira, Ficus prinoides, Ficus pumila and Artocarpus integrifolia are also listed as hosts.

Larvae pupate in cocoons spun amongst leaf litter.

There are several colour morphs.

Image, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, April 2004, courtesy of Lee Snyder.

Pachylia ficus, Pompano Beach, April 12, 2007, courtesy of Chris Marino.
Visit additional Pachylia ficus images by Chris.

Ben Trott sends the images below and writes from Quintana Roo, Mexico, "Pachylia ficus (x4), very easy to find due to their size, but also highly parasited, 3 out of 4 died before pupating. I came across three colour morphs, brown, green, & blue/green. This appears to depend on which Ficus they feed on: the brown larva was found on a Ficus aurea with many leaves with brown patches. All larvae were heavily parasited, including a female which managed to pupate, two weeks later, about ten big black parasitic flies broke their way out of the pupa."

Pachylia ficus fifth instar (brown form), Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Pachylia ficus fifth instar (blue-green form), Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Pachylia ficus fifth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Pachylia ficus fifth instar prepupal, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Pachylia ficus fifth instar prepupal, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Pachylia ficus fifth instar prepupal, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

On September 5, 2012, Elisabet Mercado sent me the following image from Mexico City, Mexico, and asked for identification help and help with possible care of larva.

I replied:

"Elisabet,
"I am pretty sure it is larva of Pachylia ficus, the Fig Sphinx. You can try offering it some fig leaves, still affixed to twig, but I suspect it is done feeding and is ready to pupate. My Mexico Sphingidae site is at http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/Mexsphinx.htm
"Here is an article that explains how to care for found larvae http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/ManducasextaAugust2008tw.htm The species is different and the food plants are different, but general procedures are same with same result. Good luck. Please send a picture of the adult moth when it emerges, probably in three to five weeks.
"Bill Oehlke"

Pachylia ficus fifth instar, Mexico City, Mexico,
September 5, 2012, courtesy of Elisabet Mercado.

Use your browser "Back" button to return to the previous page.

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.

Enjoy some of nature's wonderments: Saturniidae cocoons. Cocoons of the giant silkmoths may be purchased in the fall and winter. Big and beautiful giant silk moths will emerge in spring/summer. Read Actias luna rearing article. Additional online help available.