Macroglossum alcedo (Boisduval, 1832)
(previously known as Macroglossa alcedo)
MACROGLOSSINAE,   SPHINGIDAE,   BOMBYCOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Specimen : courtesy of Oxford University Natural History Museum)

The early instars of this Caterpillar are green, with a slightly forward curving tail spike. The last instar can become green or brown, with yellow speckles, and with an interrupted dark line along the back, and a pale line along each side. The tail spike becomes short, and straight, with pale tip. The caterpillar is thought to feed on plants from RUBIACEAE, such as

  • Atherton Turkey Bush (Hodgkinsonia frutescens), and
  • Hairy Psychotria (Psychotria loniceroides).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4.5 cms. They pupate in a cocoon incorporating dead leaves buried in the ground debris. The pupa is pale brown with some dark spots along the sides, and a partial dark line along the back and the underside. It has a pointed tail, and has a total length of about 3 cms.

    The adult moths have brown faintly patterned forewings, and smaller yellow hindwings, each with a wide angular dark brown margin. The wingspan is about 5 cms.

    The species is found in

  • New Guinea

    and also in Australia in

  • Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Dechauffour de Boisduval,
    Faune Entomologique de L'Ocean Pacifique,
    Voyage de Decouvertes de la Corvette l'Astrolabe,
    Division 7, Part 1 : Lepidopteres (1832), pp. 188-189.

    Maxwell S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
    Hawkmoths of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
    pp. 167-169, Plates 38, 76, 88.


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    (written 9 December 2005, 28 February 2015, 31 March 2020)