Psilogramma maxmouldsi Eitschberger, 2001
SPHINGINAE,   SPHINGIDAE,   BOMBYCOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Psilogramma maxmouldsi
(Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

Initially the Caterpillar of this species is green with a (harmless) dark spike on the tail. In later instars, the spike becomes green, and the body develops a series of diagonal white triangles on its sides, edging black spiracles. Sometimes the caterpillars develop maroon patches on the back and sides. The final instars have yellow tubercles on the thorax, on the tail spike, and on the claspers. The tubercles on the claspers have brown tips.

The caterpillar has been found feeding on

  • Lolly Bush ( Clerodendrum floribundum, LAMIACEAE ).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 9 cms. Seeking a suitable place to pupate: they have been known to walk up to 2 Kms. They burrow into the soil, creating, and pupating in, an underground chamber, often at a depth about 10 cms. The pupa is brown with separate compartment for the haustellum that is about 1/3 the length of the wings.

    The adult moth has long narrow pale grey forewings, each with variable dark grey and brown patterns, including two blurred black streaks near the middle, and with black and white markings near the tornus. The hindwings are generally dark grey with a vague pale spot by the tornus. The head and thorax are grey, with a dark U or V around the thorax. The abdomen is grey with a dark dorsal line. The wingspan of the female is about 14 cms. The wingspan of the male is about 11 cms.

    The eggs are ellipsoidal and pale green, laid singly under leaves of a foodplant.

    The species occurs in Australia in

  • Queensland, and
  • northern New South Wales.

    Psilogramma maxmouldsi
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of the Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)


    Further reading :

    Ulf Eitschberger,
    New diagnoses of species in the genus Psilogramma Rothschild & Jordan, 1903 (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae),
    Neue Entomologische Nachrichten,
    Suppl. 1 (2001), p. 9.

    Max S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
    Hawkmoths of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
    pp. 223-226, Plates 56, 74.


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    (written 9 February 2020)