Macroglossum papuanum (Rothschild, & Jordan, 1903)
MACROGLOSSINAE,   SPHINGIDAE,   BOMBYCOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, listed as Macroglossum insipida, from
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art

The Caterpillars of this species are initially green, but the last instar is sometimes brown, with diagonal dark stripes and with white speckles. All instars have a straightish spine on the tail with a pale tip.

The caterpillars appear to feed on various plants from RUBIACEAE, including :

  • Broadleaf Buttonweed ( Spermacoce latifolia ).

    Th caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms. The pupa is greenish brown, with some black speckles, and with a black spot on the spiracle on each side of each abdominal segment. The pupa is formed in a substantial cocoon incorporating dead leaves in the ground debris. The pupa has a length of about 3 cms.

    Macroglossum papuanum
    Photo: Lionel Walter Rothschild & Karl Jordan,

    A revision of the Lepidopterous family Sphingidae,
    Novitates Zoologicae, Volume 9 Supplement, Part 2 (1903), Plate III, fig. 9,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Natural History Museum Library, London.

    The adult moths have a pattern of light and dark brown or grey on the forewings, and yellow hindwings with broad black margins. The wingspan is about 4 cms.

    The eggs are off-white and spherical, with a diameter of about 1.3 mms. They are laid singly on the underside of young leaves of a foodplant.

    The species is found in Australia in

  • Queensland.

    This species was thought to be a subspecies of the Asian species Macroglossum troglodytus Boisduval, [1875]), also known by its synyonym as Macroglossum insipida Butler, 1875. However the genitalia structure and DNA now indicate that the Australian Macroglossum papuanum is a species in its own right.

    Of the twenty six original specimens described by Rothschild & Jordan in 1903, many were caught in the D'Entrecasteaux Islands north-east of what was then Papua, as well as some in Australia. So the species came to be named Macroglossum papuanum despite being found now extensively in north Queensland.


    Further reading:

    Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Dechauffour de Boisduval,
    in: Boisduval & Guenée,
    Histoire Naturelle des Insectes,
    Species Général des Lépidoptéres Hétérocéres,
    Volume 1 (1875), p. 344, No. 19.

    Arthur G. Butler,
    Descriptions of new species of Sphingidae,
    Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London,
    1875, pp. 242-243, No. 12.

    Maxwell S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
    Hawkmoths of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
    pp. 186-190, Plates 45, 76, 89.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 202.

    Lionel Walter Rothschild & Karl Jordan,
    A revision of the Lepidopterous family Sphingidae,
    Novitates Zoologicae,
    Volume 9 Supplement, Part 1 (1903), pp. 642-643, No. 579b,
    as well as
    Volume 9 Supplement, Part 2 (1903), Plate 3, fig. 9.


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    (updated 7 February 2012, 8 April 2020)