Hawk-moths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) of Trinidad, West Indies: an illustrated and annotated list

Matthew J.W. Cock


An illustrated and annotated catalogue is presented of 84 species of Sphingidae confirmed to occur in Trinidad. Adhemarius daphne (Boisduval), Aleuron chloroptera (Perty), Nyceryx stuarti (Rothschild) and Erinnyis impunctata Rothschild & Jordan are new records for Trinidad. In addition, five prior species records have not been confirmed, and seven reported species are considered to be in error. Images of living adults of 33 species and the early stages of six species are included. Very little has been recorded regarding food plants and early stages in Trinidad, but known food plants from elsewhere in the Neotropics are tabulated, as are data of the months of capture and localities in suburban and forested localities in Trinidad.


catalogue; distribution; food plants; hornworms; phenology; Tobago

Full Text:



CABI (CAB International) 2002a. Erinnyis ello (Linnaeus). Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, 628: 1-3.

CABI (CAB International) 2002b. Erinnyis alope (Drury). Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, 637: 1-3.

CABI (CAB International) 2002c. Manduca sexta (Linnaeus). Distribution Maps of Plant Pests 638: 1-4.

CABI (CAB International) 2015. Datasheet. Ludwigia octovalvis (primrose willow). Invasive Species Compendium. [Online] Available at http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/31671 (Accessed 22 June, 2017).

Caracciolo, H. 1890. [A note]. Bulletin des Séances de la Société entomologique de France, 1889(18): clxxviii.

Cary, M.M. 1951. Distribution of Sphingidae (Lepidoptera: Heterocera) in the Antillean-Caribbean Region. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 77(2): 63-129.

Closs, A.G. 1917. Xylophanes neoptolemus Stoll, subspec. neoptolemus trinitatis subspec. nov. Internationale Entomologische Zeitschrift, 11: 96.

Cock, M.J.W. 2003. On the number of species of moths (Lepidoptera) in Trinidad and Tobago. Living World, Journal of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club, 2003: 49-58.

Cock, M.J.W. 2007. Xylophanes titana (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) in Trinidad. Living World, Journal of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club, 2007: 82-84.

Cock, M.J.W. 2008. Pseudosphinx tetrio (L.) (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) in Trinidad and Tobago. Living World, Journal of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club, 2008: 49-52.

Cock, M.J.W. 2016. The corkscrew moths (Lepidoptera, Geometroidea, Sematuridae) of Trinidad and Tobago. Tropical Lepidoptera Research, 26(2): 101-105.

Cock, M.J.W. 2017a. The butterflies (Papilionoidea) of Tobago, West Indies, West Indies: An updated and annotated checklist. Insecta Mundi, 0539: 1-38.

Cock, M.J.W. 2017b. A preliminary catalogue of the moths (Lepidoptera except Papilionoidea) of Tobago, West Indies. Insecta Mundi, 0585: 1-58.

Cock, M.J.W. and Boos, J.O. 2007. Observations on Sphingidae (Lepidoptera) from Talara, north coastal Peru. Revista Peruana de Entomología, 45 (2006): 75-78.

Cock, M.J.W. and Robbins, R.K. 2016. Annotated checklist and biogeographic composition of the Lycaenidae (Lepidoptera) of Trinidad, West Indies. Insecta Mundi, 0506: 1-33.

Cooper, J. and Cooper, M. 2009. A historical note on Pseudosphinx tetrio (L.) (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) in Trinidad, West Indies. Living World, Journal of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club, 2009: 43-44.

D'Abrera, B. [1987]. Sphingidae Mundi. Hawk Moths of the World. Faringdon, UK: E.W. Classey Ltd. 226 p.

Des Vignes, W. 1986. Cassava hornworm on cassava. FAO Plant Protection Bulletin, 34(4): 218.

Dyer, L.A. and Gentry, G.L. 2002. Caterpillars and parasitoids of a tropical lowland wet forest. [Online]Available at http://www.caterpillars.org (Accessed: 14 April, 2017).

Dyer, L.A., Miller, J.S., Rab Green, S.B., Gentry, G.L., Greeney, H.F. and Walla, T.W. 2017. Caterpillars and parasitoids of the Eastern Andes in Ecuador. [Online]Available at http://www.caterpillars.org. (Accessed: 14 April, 2017).

Eitschberger, U. 2006. Revision der Gattungen Amphimoea Rothschild & Jordan, 1903, Cocytius auct. (nec Hübner, [1819]) und Neococytius Hodges, 1917 mit der Neugliederung der Gattung Cocytius auct. (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae). Neue Entomologische Nachrichten, 59: 171-288, 438-465.

Eitschberger, U. 2011. Vorarbeit zur Revision der Eumorpha obliquus (Rothschild & Jordan, 1903)-Artengruppe mit der Beschreibung einer neuen Art aus Bolivia (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae). Neue Entomologische Nachrichten, 66: 131-191.

Eitschberger, U. and Steiniger, H. 1976. Die Artverschiedenheit von Hyles lineata lineata (Fabricius, 1775) und Hyles livornica livornica (Esper, 1779) (Lep. Sphingidae). Atalanta, Würzburg, 7: 71-73.

González, J.M. and Cock, M.J.W. 2004. A synopsis of the Castniidae (Lepidoptera) of Trinidad and Tobago. Zootaxa, 762: 1-19.

Guppy, P.L. 1893. Notes on some lepidopterous insects (collected principally on San Fernando Hill). Journal of the Trinidad Field Naturalists' Club, 1(8): 198-200.

Guppy, P.L. 1911a. Report of the assistant entomologist 1910-1911. Circular, Board of Agriculture, Trinidad, 2: 9-11.

Guppy, P.L. 1911b. Insect notes for the year 1910-1911. Circular, Board of Agriculture, Trinidad, 3: 3-14.

Guppy, P.L. 1914. Birds and their value to the agriculturist. Bulletin of the Department of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago, 13(80): 148-156.

Haxaire, J. 1992. Les Aleuron Boisduval (1870) en Guyane française (Lepidoptera Sphingidae). Bulletin de la Société Sciences Naturelles, 73: 13-16.

Haxaire, J. 1993. Systematique et repartition des especes du groupe d'Hyles lineata (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera Sphingidae). Lambillionea, 93: 156-165.

Haxaire, J. 1996a. Les premiers états d'Oryba kadeni Schaufuss: écologie et description. Lambillionea, 96: 73-79.

Haxaire, J. 1996b. Les genres Pachygonidia Fletcher, Nyceryx Boisduval et Perigonia Herrich-Schäffer en Guyane française. (Lepidoptera Sphingidae). Lambillionea, 96: 342-350.

Haxaire, J. 1996c. Note sur Eupyrrhoglossum venustum Rothschild & Jordan (Lepidoptera Sphingidae). Lambillionea, 96: 694-698.

Haxaire, J. 2005. Description d'un nouveau Sphingidae bolivien Nyceryx janzeni sp. n. (Lepidoptera Sphingidae). Lambillionea, 105: 583-588.

Haxaire, J. 2013. Description de cinq nouveaux Sphingidae néotropicaux et asiatiques (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae) et notes sur Nyceryx riscus (Schaus, 1890). The European Entomologist, 5(2): 25-43.

Haxaire, J. and Cadiou, J.M. 1999. Description of a new species in the genus Nyceryx, and notes on allied species (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae). Lambillionea, 99: 344-350.

Haxaire, J. and Herbin, D. 2000. Les Lépidoptères Sphingidae de Bolivie ecologie et systématique. 2ème partie: les sous-familles des Smerinthinae et Macroglossinae pro parte (1). Revue de l'Association Roussillonnaise d'Entomologie, 9(1): 4-19.

Haxaire, J. and Rasplus, J.-Y. 1987a. Contribution à la connaissance des Sphingidae de Guyane Française. lre Partie [Lep.]. Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France, 91(9-10) (1986): 275-285.

Haxaire, J. and Rasplus, J.-Y. 1987b. Contribution à la connaissance des Sphingidae de Guyane Française. 2e Partie [Lep.]. Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France, 92(1-2): 45-55.

Heinrich, C. and Chapin, E.A. 1942. William Schaus. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 44(9): 189-195, plate 17.

Hill, A.W. and Sandwith, N.Y. 1947. Sapotaceae. Flora of Trinidad and Tobago, 2(3): 123-137.

Hodges, R.W. 1971. Fascicle 21. Sphingoidea Hawkmoths. In: The Moths of America North of Mexico. London: E.W. Classey. 158 p., 14 pl., xii.

Janzen, D.H. 1986. Biogeography of an unexceptional place: what determines the saturniid and sphingid moth fauna of Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica, and what does it mean to conservation biology? Brenesia, 25/26: 51-87.

Janzen, D.H. and Hallwachs, W. 2016. DNA barcoding the Lepidoptera inventory of a large complex tropical conserved wildland, Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, northwestern Costa Rica. Genome, 59: 641-660.

Janzen, D. H. and Hallwachs, W. 2017. Dynamic database for an inventory of the macrocaterpillar fauna, and its food plants and parasitoids, of Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), northwestern Costa Rica. [Online] Available at http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu (Accessed: 14 April, 2017).

Kawahara, A.Y., Mignault, A.A., Regier, J.C., Kitching, I.J. and Mitter, C. 2009. Phylogeny and biogeography of hawkmoths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae): evidence from five nuclear genes. PLoS ONE, 4(5), e5719: 11 p.

Kawahara, A.Y., Breinholt, J.W., Ponce, F.M., Haxaire, J., Xiao, L., Lamarre, G.P.A., Rubinoff, D. and Kitching, I.J. 2013. Evolution of Manduca sexta hornworms and relatives: Biogeographical analysis reveals an ancestral diversification in Central America. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 68: 381-386.

Kaye, W.J. 1901. A preliminary catalogue of the Lepidoptera Heterocera of Trinidad. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London, 1901: 115-158, 2 plates. [Reprinted in Proceedings of the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago 1914].

Kaye, W.J. 1914a. Moths of Trinidad. Proceedings of the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago, 1914: 58-69, 115-1235, 191-200, 231-242. [Reprint of Kaye (1901) without plates and with additional annotations, mainly common names, probably by P.L. Guppy]

Kaye, W.J. 1914b. [Exhibit, October 23rd, 1913]. Proceedings and Transactions of the South London Entomological and Natural History Society, 1913-1914: 129.

Kaye, W.J. and Lamont, N. 1927. A catalogue of the Trinidad Lepidoptera Heterocera (moths). Memoirs of the Department of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago, 3: 1-144.

Kelly, M. 2011. First record of the hawkmoth Aellopos clavipes (Sphingidae) in Tobago, West Indies. Living World, Journal of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club, 2011: 72.

Kitching, I.J. 2017. Sphingidae Taxonomic Inventory. Available at http://sphingidae.myspecies.info/ (Accessed: 14 April, 2017).

Kitching, I.J. and Cadiou, J.-M. 2000. Hawkmoths of the World. An Annotated and Illustrated Revisionary Checklist (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae). Ithaca, USA and London, UK: Cornell University Press. viii + 227 p.

Lamont, N. and Callan, E.McC. 1950. Moths new to Trinidad, B.W.I. Zoologica, 35: 197-207.

MFPLMA (Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago) 2010. Cassava hornworm Erinnyis ello. Fact Sheet #1. Research Division, Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago, 2 p.

MPM (Ministry of Petroleum and Mines, Trinidad and Tobago) 1981. Annual Report for 1978. Government of Trinidad and Tobago, vi + 26 p.

Moss, A.M. 1912. On the Sphingidae of Peru. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, 20: 73-135.

Moss, A.M. 1920. Sphingidae of Para, Brazil. Novitates Zoologicae, 27: 333-424, plates i-xi.

Oehlke, B. 2017. Sphingidae of the Americas. [Online] Available at http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/Sphinx/danjansphinx.htm (Accessed: 14 April, 2017).

Petroleum Economist 2015. Energy Map of Trinidad and Tobago. 2015 Edition. [Online] Available at http://ngc.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/pdf/publications/energy-map-of-tnt-2015-ed.pdf (Accessed: 14 April, 2017).

Pollard, G. 1984. Insect pests of sweet potato in the Caribbean with particular reference to the borer (Megastes grandalis Guen.). p. 147-152. In: Dolly, D. ed., Root Crops in the Caribbean. Proceedings of the Caribbean Regional Workshop on Tropical Root Crops. St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago: Faculty of Agriculture, University of the West Indies. 269 p.

Ponce, F., Breinholt, J.W., Hossie, T., Barber, J.R., Janzen, D.H., Hallwachs, W. and Kawahara, A.Y. 2015. A molecular phylogeny of Eumorpha (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) and the evolution of anti-predator larval eyespots. Systematic Entomology, 40(2): 401-408.

Rothschild, W. and Jordan, K. 1903. A revision of the lepidopterous family Sphingidae. Novitates Zoologicae, 9(supplement): i-cxxxv, 1-972, 67 pl.

Schreiber, H. 1978. Dispersal centres of Sphingidae (Lepidoptera). Biogeographica, Volume 10. The Hague: Dr W. Junk Publishers. 195 p.

Soares, A. 1993. Nota sôbre o gênero Callionima Lucas, 1856 (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae, Macroglossinae, Dilophonotini). Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 37: 35-39.

St Laurent, R.A. and Cock, M.J.W. 2017. Annotated list of Mimallonidae (Lepidoptera, Mimallonoidea) from Trinidad and Tobago. Zootaxa, 4268: 53-70.

Stradling, D.J., Legg, C.J. and Bennett, F.D. 1983. Observations on the Sphingidae (Lepidoptera) of Trinidad. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 73: 201-232.

Topper, B.F. 1943. Tomato cultivation on the College Farm. Tropical Agriculture, 19(9) (1942): 180-182.

Tuttle, J.P. 2007. The Hawk Moths of North America. Washington DC: The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation. xviii + 253 p.

University of Florida 2017. Ludwigia leptocarpa. Available at https://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/plant-directory/ludwigia-leptocarpa/ (Accessed 22 July, 2017).

Urich, F.W. 1915. Cassava insects. Bulletin of the Department of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago, 14(2): 38-40.

Vaglia, T. and Haxaire, J. 2005. Revision des Adhemarius du complex gannascus (Stoll, 1790). Lambillionea, 105(supplement 3): 3-[45].

Vaglia, T., Haxaire, J., Kitching, I.J., Meusnier, I. and Rougerie, R. 2008. Morphology and DNA barcoding reveal three cryptic species within the Xylophanes neoptolemus and loelia species-groups (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae). Zootaxa, 1923: 18-36.

Winder, J.A. 1976. Ecology and control of Erinnyis ello and E. alope, important insect pests in the New World. PANS, 22(4): 449-466.


  • There are currently no refbacks.