Aellopos tantalus zonata

Aellopos tantalus zonata, Mexico, courtesy of Manuel Balcazar-Lara.

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Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Dilophonotini, Burmeister, 1878
Genus: Aellopos Hubner, [1819] ...........
Species: tantalus zonata Drury, 1773


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Aellopos tantalus zonata, (wingspan: 1 3/4 - 2 1/4 inches (4.5 - 5.7 cm)), flies in St. Kitts and in Mexico.

The body is reddish brown with a wide white band across the abdomen. The forewing upperside is reddish brown with a black cell spot and 3 white spots near the gray marginal area. A pale streak runs from the cell spot to the inner margin of the wing. The hindwing upperside is dark brown.


This species broods continuously in the tropics and in Florida.

Adults nectar on flowers, including white stopper (Eugenia axillaris), lantana, flamevine and golden creeper/beach creeper/cough bush ( Ernodea littoralis).


Adults eclose in the morning from pupae formed in cocoons in shallow subterranean chambers or under leaf litter.


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


Yellow-green, translucent eggs are usually deposited singly on new foliage or buds in the early afternoon.

Within a few days, the deleloping larva can be seen through the eggshell. Newly emerged larvae feed on tender, new leaves until they have developed a bit.

Larvae feed on seven year apple, Casasia clusiifolia, and probably other plants in the madder family. They have been reported on Indigo-berry (Randia aculeata).

Caterpillars pupate in loose cocoons in shallow underground chambers or in leaf litter.

Pupae are dark, smooth and shiny, and relatively thin considering the stout appearance of the moth.

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