Sphingidae of Panama

Amphimoea walkeri courtesy of Paolo Mazzei.

Although I believe these "tribal" checklists contain only species within Panama, there may be omissions. I have composed this list from what I consider to be valid lists for Nicaragua and Venezuela.

I have added (August 28, 2007) Isognathus leachi based on the following image.

Isognathus leachi, Mogue, Darien, Panama, August 25, 2007,
courtesy of Dr. Arthur Anker, STRI.

If you have corrections to offer, please contact
Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com.

Linette Mansberger provides the following image from Panama and asked for id cofirmation. My (Bill Oehlke) comments are below the photo.

Adhemarius species??, Bocas del Toro, Bastimentos Island, Panama,
September, 2012, courtesy of Linette Mansberger

To me (Bill Oehlke) your moth is intermediate between Adhemarius gannascus and Adhemarius daphne and Adhemarius fulvescens. The broad, dark antemedian band extends noticeably onto the costa beyond what would be expected for daphne or fulvescens, but does not continue to the full outer edge of the costa as would be expected in gannascus. The dark comma-shaped mark emanating from the costa near the apex is wider than would be expected for gannascus, and is more typical of what one could expect of daphne or fulvescens. Perhaps it is a natural hybrid, perhaps it is an undescribed species. If I had to pick one of the three species mentioned above, I would say a variant of daphne.

Eumorpha capronnieri, Cerro Chucanti, Darien, Panama,
August 22-24, 2012, courtesy of Albert Thurman.

Many thanks to Albert Thurman who has sent me a list, prepared and provided by John MacDonald, of Panamanian specimens in the Mississippi Entomology Museum.

Albert writes (July 26, 2016) concerning Xylophanes belti, "I've been collecting it at Finca Hartmann in Chiriqui Province, probably for 40 years. I checked the Sphinx moth list from the Mississippi Entomological Museum and it's not on that list, either. John MacDonald, the man who prepared that list and gave it to me so I could give it to you, has also collected X. belti in Panama at the same location.

John has been my assistant on almost all of my Panama entomology research trips since 2009 (over 15 trips), and it was his hard work that created that list, mostly from specimens he collected there."

I have indicated the additions to the list with MEM. The entire listing from the museum is available via the following link: Mississippi Entomology Museum.

Many thanks to Tony James who has recently (May 2015) sent me quite a few images with data from Panama: Panama: Gamboa and Radisson.

List of Sphingidae from Panama


Agrius cingulata
Amph. walkeri
C. antaeus medor
Am. duponchel
Amph. lucifer
Lintneria merops
Man. albiplaga
M. corallina MEM
M. dif. tropicalis
Man. florestan
Man. lichenea
M. occulta MEM
Manduca rustica
M. schausi MEM
Man. s. paphus
N. cluentius MEM


Ad. daphne
A. dariensis MEM
A. fulvescens MEM
Ad. gannascus
Adhem. palmeri
Ad.s tigrina
A. ypsilon MEM
Protam. eurycles
Protam. goeldii
Protam. strigilis


Aellopos ceculus
A. fadus nr MEM
Aellopos titan
Aleuron carinata
Call. calliomenae
C. denti. MEM
C. falcifera MEM
Callionima inuus
Call. nomius
Call. pan MEM
Callionima parce
Enyo lugubris
Enyo ocypete
Enyo taedium
Erinnyis alope
Erinnyis crameri
Er. domingonis
Erinnyis ello
Er. impunctata
Erin. lassauxii
Erinnyis obscura
Erin. oenotrus
Eupyr. sagra
Hemero. ornatus
H. triptol. MEM
Isog. caricae
Isog. leachi
Isog. scyron
Madoryx oiclus
Mad. plutonius
Nyceryx coffaeae
Nyceryx ericea
N. eximia MEM
Nyceryx riscus
Nyceryx stuarti
Nyceryx tacita
Pachygo. drucei
Pachy. hopfferi
Pachy. martini
Pachy. r. ribbei
Pa. subhamata
P. darceta MEM
Pachylia ficus
Pachylia syces
Po. resumens
Perigonia ilus
Perigonia lusca
Perigonia stulta
Pseudosph. tetrio
Stolid. tachasara
Unz. japix MEM


E. anchemolus
Eum. capronnieri
Eum. fasciatus
Eum. labruscae
Eum. obliquus
Eum. phorbas
Eum. satellitia
Eum. triangulum
Eumorpha vitis


Hyles lineata
Xyl. acrus MEM
Xyl. anubus
X. belti AT
X. ceratomioides
X. ch. nechus
Xyl. crotonis
X. cthulhu MEM
X. germen MEM
X. guianensis
X. hannem. MEM
X. jordani MEM
X. letiranti
Xyl. libya MEM
Xyl. loelia
X. m. maculator
X. neoptolemus
Xyl. pistacina
Xyl. pluto ERH
X. p. continentalis
X. staudin. MEM
Xyl. tersa
Xyl. thyelia
Xyl. titana
Xyl. turbata
Xyl. tyndarus

Pseudosphinx tetrio, Canal Zone, Panama, courtesy of Russell Bean.

Russell made some interesting observations and writes, "Hi, I found your web page when trying to find which caterpillar was eating a tree on the canal causeway in Panama, I have attached a few photos if you wanted to see them or use them, feel free. The caterpillars are all over the tree. I donít think it will last long.

"The two things I still donít know after looking at your web site are 1. Why donít the birds eat and attack them. I have seen them dead on the floor and the birds still donít eat them, are they poisonous? 2. Also what does the spike on the back do, is it a sting or just a distraction tactic so there heads donít get attacked?"

I wrote back, "Thanks for sending pictures. The trees produce a toxic substance which does not harm the caterpillars but is absorbed into their tissues when they feed upon it. The caterpillar then becomes toxic or at least distasteful to birds and other would-be-predators.

The spike at the end is typical of many caterpillars of the Sphingidae family. The spike or anal horn is harmless and might be either a distraction or a perceived threat as you have indicated. There are some caterpillars from other families that have poisonous spines, but not this one.

Generally caterpillars with black, yellow, red colouration carry toxins."

Large numbers of caterpillars can defoliate an entire tree or bush. This usually does not fatally harm the plant provided the defoliation does not happen repeatedly (two or more years in succession).

Pachylia ficus, Canopy Tower, Soberania National Park, Panama, courtesy Jim Swalwell.

Manduca rustica, Gamboa, Panama, November 19th 2006, courtesy Jim Swalwell.

Xylophanes pluto, Canopy Lodge, El Valle de Anton, Panama,
November 2011, courtesy of Elliotte Rusty Harold.

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