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


(Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland))

The caterpillars of this species initially are green with a black forward curving spine on the tail.


brown form
(Photo: courtesy of Craig Nieminski, Darwin)

Later they can become brown or green, covered in small white dots. There is a dark dorsal line which may be fragmented into a line of dashes. A pair of pale dorso-lateral lines run from the head to the tail. They also have a dark brown spine on the tail (which is quite harmless). They grow to a length of about 6 cms.

They feed on various members of the RUBIACEAE family, including :

  • Alahee ( Canthium odoratum ),
  • Dye Plant ( Coelospermum reticulatum ),
  • Mirror Bush ( Coprosma repens ),
  • Sweet Morinda ( Morinda jasminoides ),
  • Ant Plant ( Myrmecodia beccarii ),
  • Pavetta ( Pavetta australiensis ), and
  • Hairy Psychotria ( Psychotria loniceroides ).


    (Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland))

    The pupa is brown with a row of black spots along each side.


    (Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland))

    The adult moths have patterned grey or brown forewings, with a pale bar across the middle of each one. The hindwings are yellow with a broad black border. The moth has a wingspan of about 4 cms.


    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The eggs are spherical and off-white. They are laid singly under the leaf of a foodplant.


    (Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland))

    The species is found as various subspecies in:

  • Cook Islands,
  • Fiji,
  • Papua,
  • Society Islands,

    and as the subspecies errans Walker, 1856, in Australia in

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.


    Fiji
    , 2001


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 16.3, p. 413.


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    (updated 12 September 2011)