Xylophanes libya
Updated as per http://www.pybio.org/SPHINGINAE.htm (Paraguay), October 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Jose Ramon Alvarez Corral (Barinas, Venezuela) May 28, 2012; ongoing

Xylophanes libya
(Druce, 1878) Choerocampa

Xylophanes libya 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.


Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Macroglossini, Harris, 1839
Genus: Xylophanes Hubner [1819] ...........
Species: libya (Druce, 1878)


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Xylophanes libya moths (Wing span: 2 11/16 - 2 15/16 inches (6.8 - 7.4 cm)) fly from Amazonas and the Guianas north through
Belize: Corozol, Cayo, Stann Creek, Orange Walk, Toledo;
Guatemala: Izabal (JM) to
South Texas. Panama is the specimen type locality. Moths have been taken in Venezuela: (Barinas (JRAC)), and as far south and west as
Bolivia: Santa Cruz: Ichilo, La VÝbora; Cochabamba: Chapare, Incachaca, (2000m);
Paraguay: Canindeyu, Alto Parana, Caaguazu.

The upperside of the forewing is olive brown with darker shading and dark longitudinal lines. The upperside of the hindwing is dark olive brown with an orange-yellow postmarginal band. The underside of both is dull orange-yellow with dark shading and spots. The forewing has a tan patch along the outer margin.

This moth is probably synonymous with Xylophanes pallescens.

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.

Jean Marie Cadiou writes, "When I say "Xylophanes" in English I pronounce it something like "Zailophanees", with the emphasis on the "o". The French pronounce it differently, something like "Kzeelophaness" with no emphasis, and the Germans yet in a different way..."

"Xylophanes" sounds like it is from Greek mythology.

In Greek mythology, Libya was the daughter of Epaphus, a son of Zeus and King of Egypt, and Memphis. She was ravished by the god Poseidon to whom she bore twin sons, Belus and Agenor.

Xylophanes libya male (top), Xylophanes libya male (bottom),
courtesy of Hubert Mayer copyright.


The Libya sphinx, Xylophanes libya, adults probably brood continuously with pupae emerging after rains. In Costa Rica moths have been taken in every month of the year. The south Texas flight occurs in October. In Bolivia this species has been taken in April.


Pupae probably wiggle to surface from subterranean chambers just prior to eclosion.


Females call in the males with a pheromone released from a gland at the tip of the abdomen. Males come in to lights very readily, but females are seldom taken in that way.

Xylophanes libya female courtesy of Dan Janzen.


Larvae feed on Psychotria horizontalis, Psychotria nervosa, and Psychotria microdon of the Rubiaceae family.

This species has a dark caterpillar. The eyes are yellow with large dark black centers. The last two instars have a large blue dot in the eyes which makes them look crossed. There is a black pupil in center of each eye, a patterned iris, and a faint yellow eye ring. The tail is a straight spike needle in last instar; the caterpillar is dark brown.

Moths emerge approximately 15-20 days after larvae pupate. The cremaster is sharp.

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