Argos Hawk Moth
SPHINGINAE, SPHINGIDAE, BOMBYCOIDEA
Max Moulds & D.A. Lane
(Photo by Clifford Frith, courtesy of The Australian Entomologist)
This species was named from the Greek word argos meaning 'white', because of the pale colour of the adult moths.
This Caterpillar was discovered only recently (1997). The early instars of this caterpillar are green with a long straight black tail spike.
In later instars, the spike becomes green or greenish-brown, more compact, and curves backwards. The caterpillars develop a series of diagonal white stripes on the sides, and variable dark marks on the back of each segment. The thorax, tail and tail spike have scattered pale tubercles. The caterpillars has been found feeding on :
The caterpillar grows to a length of about 8 cms. When the caterpillar is fully grown, it leaves the food plant and walks around looking for somewhere to dig down about 15 cms. There, under the soil, it forms a cell of silk in which it pupates. The pupa has an extended loop under the head in which the haustellum develops. The pupa has a length of about 4.5 cms.
The adult moth has long narrow forewings, which are a pale grey with black markings, and have a small white spot near the middle. The abdomen is grey, with no dark dorsal line. The wingspan is up to 10 cms.
The eggs are oval and pale green, with a length of about 2 mms. The eggs are laid singly on the undersides of leaves of a foodplant.
The species occurs over much of the tropical north of Australia, including:
Further reading :
Maxwell Sydney Moulds & David Lane,
A new hawk moth from Northern Australia with notes on its life history (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae),
The Australian Entomologist,
Volume 26 (1999), p. 37-44, figs. 1-7, 10, 14-15.
Maxwell S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
Hawkmoths of Australia,
Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
pp. 213-216, Plates 53, 73, 90.
(updated 24 October 2009, 17 April 2020)