Updated as per More, Kitching and Cocucci's Hawkmoths of Argentina 2005, October, 2007
Updated as per http://biological-diversity.info/sphingidae.htm (Belize), October 2007
Updated as per Sphingidae (Lepidoptera) de Venezuela, Compilado por: María Esperanza Chacín; December 2009
Updated as per http://biological-diversity.info/sphingidae.htm (Belize), November 2007
Updated as per Fauna Entomologica De Nicarauga, November 2007
Updated as per The Known Sphingidae of Costa Rica, November 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Ezequiel Bustos (Aguas Blancas, Salta, Argentina, 405m); December 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Ben Trott (Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico); February 25, 2012; January 9, 2013
Updated as per personal communication with Sergio D. Ríos Díaz in CATÁLOGO DE LOS SPHINGIDAE (INSECTA: LEPIDOPTERA) DEPOSITADOS EN EL MUSEO NACIONAL DE HISTORIA NATURAL DEL PARAGUAY; sent to me in July 2014 by Sergio D. Ríos Díaz.
Updated as per personal communication with Ezequiel Bustos (Shilap revta. lepid. 43 (172) diciembre, 2015, 615-631 eISSN 2340-4078 ISSN 0300-5267), January 4, 2016

Aellopos clavipes
Aellopos Sphinx Moth

Aellopos clavipes male courtesy of Dan Janzen.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.

TAXONOMY:

Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Dilophonotini, Burmeister, 1878
Genus: Aellopos Hubner, [1819] ...........
Species: clavipes Rothschild & Jordan, 1903

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DISTRIBUTION:

Aellopos clavipes, the Aellopos Sphinx Moth, (Wing span: 2 - 2 1/2 inches (5 - 6.4 cm)), flies in
Mexico (specimen type locality);
Belize: Corozol;
probably Guatemala;
probably Honduras;
probably Nicaragua ??;
Costa Rica; Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Alajuela,
probably Panama;
Jamaica;
Venezuela: Aragua, Carabobo, Lara, Merida, Portuguesa;
probably Colombia;
probably Ecuador;
Peru;
Bolivia ??;
Brazil;
probably Parguay: Asuncion; Central; Concepcion;
northern Argentina: Misiones, Salta (405m EB), Tucuman;
into Texas, Arizona, and southern California, preferring tropical and subtropical lowlands.

Sesia eumelas Jordan 1924, is a synonym for clavipes.

Aellopos clavipes, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

The body is dark brown with a wide white band across the abdomen. Wings are dark brown. The forewing has a black cell spot and three white spots near the pale brown marginal area. Note the absence of white scales on the hindwing anal angle, helping to distinguish this species from Aellopos titan.

Aellopos clavipes, Hidalgo County, Texas, August 28, 2006, courtesy of Gil Quintanilla

FLIGHT TIMES:

In Costa Rica moths have been taken on the wing from May to December. There are probably three main broods: December, April-May and September.

In Texas the flight is in August and October. Adults nectar on flowers.

ECLOSION:

Adults eclose from pupae formed in shallow subterranean chambers. Development and emergence is often within fourteen days of pupation.

Aellopos clavipes female courtesy of Dan Janzen.

SCENTING AND MATING:

Females call in the males with a pheromone released from a gland at the tip of the abdomen.

EGGS, LARVAE, PUPAE:

1 mm diameter green eggs are deposited in late afternoon or early evening on host foliage. Larvae feed on various species of the Rubiaceae (madder) family. Randia rhagocarpa, Randia monantha, Randia aculeata, Guettarda macrosperma and Genipa americana are listed as hosts.

Aellopos clavipes fifth instar, copyright/courtesy of James P. Tuttle.

Ben Trott reports larvae can go through as many as seven instars in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

J.F. Doyle, writes, This species "probably uses Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, a Rubiaceae, as a larval foodplant. It occurs along the Medina River, very close to Castroville, Texas. Reported to use other plants in that family in the Rio Grande Valley, i.e. Randia rhagocarpa. A. clavipes is more common there. I have learned that it has been recorded previously from this county and I will let you know the details on that as soon as I can."

Image sent by Terry Doyle, October 9, 2006.

Caterpillars pupate in shallow underground chambers.

Ben Trott provides the following images and writes, "Although its foodplant Randia rhagocarpa is found everywhere, this is an elusive species. I have seen adults buzzing around in the early evening, and one female trying to lay eggs, I searched the bush afterwards, but no eggs were to be seen. The evidence of the larvae is common to find (old frass, stripped shrubs), but I have only found one so far."

Aellopos clavipes fourth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Aellopos clavipes fifth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Aellopos clavipes fifth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Aellopos clavipes prepupal fifth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Ben Trott writes, "I'm sending photos of Aellopos clavipes's complete life-cycle. Females tend to fly during late afternoon and lay their eggs on Randia species. They can be seen again at dusk with the males nectaring from plants such as Lantana camara. Whilst out searching, I have seen eggs being laid, and I collected a few. As I've reared this species from eggs, I discovered that the larvae pass through seven instars. This is the first time I've seen this in any Sphingidae larvae. As a result, instars are short and only last a couple of days at most. I also noticed that in the last instar the larva uses an interesting defense mechanism. It rears its head back, inflates the top of its prolegs to create false eyes & face, which must deter predators.

"An egg laid on the 28th Nov. took three days to hatch. I reared the larva which pupated by the 10th December which hatched as an adult male on the 26th December."

Aellopos clavipes fifth instar, Sonora, Mexico,
July 2014, courtesy of Jean Haxaire.

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