Hippotion velox (Fabricius, 1793)
(one synonym : Sphinx vigil Guérin-Méneville, 1843)
MACROGLOSSINAE ,   SPHINGIDAE ,   BOMBYCOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hippotion velox
Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, from
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art

These caterpillars have eyespots along the sides, and uniquely: a horn on the tail that curves forwards. In Australia, the caterpillars feed on:

  • Birdlime Tree ( Pisonia umbellifera, NYCTAGINACEAE ),

    but overseas they have been found on :

  • Pullback ( Pisonia aculeata, NYCTAGINACEAE )
  • Kachri ( Alocasia indica, ARACEAE ), and
  • Sweet Potato ( Ipomoea batatas, CONVOLVULACEAE ).

    The Caterpillar pupates in a shelter of leaves joined by silk.

    Hippotion velox
    drawing by Félix Édouard Guérin-Méneville, listed as Sphinx vigil,
    in Adolphe Delessert : Souvenirs d'un voyage dans l'Inde exécuté de 1834 à 1839,
    Part 2 (1843), Plate 23, fig. 1,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, contributed by NCSU Libraries.

    The adult moth is brown with a paler marginal half to each of the forewings. The moth has a wingspan of about 6 cms.

    Hippotion velox
    Cocos Islands 1982

    The species occurs from India to Fiji, including :

  • Borneo,
  • China,
  • Philippines,
  • Thailand,

    as well as the northern half of Australia, including:

  • Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 41.8, pp. 43, 410, 414.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta,
    Volume 3, Part 1 (1793), p. 378, No. 68.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 201.


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    (updated 8 November 2011)