Cocytius antaeus
Updated as per More, Kitching and Cocucci's Hawkmoths of Argentina 2005, October, 2007
Updated as per All Leps Barcode of Life, October, 2007
Updated as per http://www.pybio.org/SPHINGINAE.htm (Paraguay), October 2007
Updated as per http://biological-diversity.info/sphingidae.htm (Belize), October 2007
Updated as per Fauna Entomologica De Nicarauga, November 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Ezequiel Bustos (Aguas Blancas, Salta, Argentina, 405m); December 2009
Updated as per Sphingidae (Lepidoptera) de Venezuela, Compilado por: María Esperanza Chacín; December 2009
Updated as per SHILAP publication: Lista de Sphingidae del Uruguay, September, 2010; Msc Gabriela Bentancur Viglione; January 31, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Ben Trott (Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico); February 27, 2012; April 10, 2012
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
Updated as per personal communication with Francierlem Oliveira (Extremoz, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil); May 14, 2016
Updated as per personal communication with Claudia E. Alexandre Pegoraro (Balnearia Camboriu, Santa Catarina, Brazil, June 27, 2016); December 17, 2016
Updated as per personal communication with Pacheco Souza (mature larva, Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 16, 2016); March 15, 2017

Cocytius antaeus
koh-SIT-ee-usM an-TEE-us
(Drury, 1773) Sphinx

Cocytius antaeus male from Costa Rica, courtesy of Dan Janzen.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke.
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.

TAXONOMY:

Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Sphinginae, Latreille, [1802]
Tribe: Sphingini, Latreille, 1802
Genus: Cocytius Hubner, [1819] ...........
Species: antaeus (Drury, 1773)

DISTRIBUTION:

The Giant Sphinx, Cocytius antaeus (Wing span: 5 - 7 inches (12.6 - 17.8 cm, males much smaller than females)], flies in tropical and subtropical lowlands in Jamaica, the specimen type locality, and is resident in Florida and tropical America south to Brazil. The moth is rare in South Texas, but occasionally strays as far north as Chicago. There is also documentation from the Galapagos Islands.

The upperside of the forewing is a blurry yellowish gray. The upperside of the hindwing is dark gray with yellow at the base and a dark "tooth" projecting from the margin into the translucent area between each vein.

I do not know if it is the nominate subspecies or subspecies medor that flies in southern Mexico: Quintana Roo (BT).

Cocytius antaeus medor flies in Belize: Corozol, Cayo, Stann Creek, Toledo;
Guatemala: Izabal (JM);
Nicaragua: Leon, Managua, Granada, probably Carazo, Mayasa, Rivas;
Costa Rica: Guanacaste, Limon, Heredia; and Puntarenas, Alajuela, San Jose, Carthage.

In South America this species flies in
Venezuela: Aragua, Bolivar, Guarico, , Miranda, Monagas;
Ecuador;
Peru;
Bolivia: Santa Cruz: Andrés Ibáñez, Terebinto; Ichilo, La Víbora; La Paz: Murillo, Río Zongo, 750m; Santa Cruz: Sarah, 450m;
Brazil: Rio Grande do Norte (FO); Sao Paulo (PS); Santa Catarina (CAP)
Paraguay: Central;
northern Chile.

Ezequiel Nunez Bustos confirms this species in
Argentina: Misiones; Buenos Aires, Salta (405m EB), Chaco, Corrientes (EB), San Juan (EB), Entre Rios, Formosa, Tucuman;
Uruguay.

I suspect it is also in Colombia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

Cocytius antaeus, male, courtesy of Hubert Mayer

"Forewing upperside semitransparent posterior to vein CuA1 due to the scaling being less dense and that of the upper layer of the underside being hair-like; the black dash here consequently more or less obliterated; dash posterior to vein M3 heavier, but scaling modified here also; buffish white subbasal line separated into a costal, a more distal disco-cellular, and a posterior part, differing from Cocytius duponchel in that the posterior part is more distal, at right-angles to the cubital vein and more distal than the costal part; the reverse is true in Cocytius duponchel; postdiscal line more curved than in Cocytius duponchel.

"Both wings undersides often with a conspicuous ochre-yellow wash.

"Hindwing upperside with transparent spaces long, that posterior to vein M1 obviously longer than the brown wing border is broad; these spaces incised distally as the border is dentate between the veins; a semitransparent patch that posterior to vein CuA2 anteriorly.

"MaleForetibia a little longer, midtibia clearly longer, and hindtibia a little shorter than their respective 1st tarsal segments. Foretarsus similar to that in Cocytius duponchel, but the 1st segment with only the external spines, the comb represented by just 1 or 2 apical spines, the other segments with a few more spines than in Cocytius duponchel.

"FemaleForetarsus with all 4 rows of spines, the comb of the 2nd, not so regular as in the male, and the spines directed more distad.Foretibia little longer, mid- and hindtibiae 1-2 mm. longer than their respective 1st tarsal segments." CATE

Cocytius antaeus, Balneario Camboriu, Santa Catarina, Brazil,
June 27, 2016, courtesy of Claudia E. Alexandre Pegoraro

FLIGHT TIMES:

Cocytius antaeus adults nectar at flowers and fly in several broods throughout the year in south Florida. In Costa Rica there are records for adults all months of the year except March and October.

In Bolivia specimens have been taken in March, October and December.

ECLOSION:

Pupae probably wiggle to surface from subterranean chambers just prior to eclosion.

Cocytius antaeus female from Costa Rica, 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:

Females deposit eggs singly on leaves of various species of Annona with Annona cherimola given as a host on the Galapagos Islands.

In the early instars larvae have white side slashes.

Mature caterpillars are large ( 20.81 g) and have a horn at the rear end. In the last instars, larvae are uniform green with a dark purple center back line and a very sharp white posterior side slash with some dark green on both sides of it.

Larva feed on Custard apple (Annona glabra) and on Annona reticulata, Annona purpurea, Annona holosericea, and Rollinia membranacea, of the Annonaceae family.

Cocytius antaeus fourth instar, Costa Rica, courtesy of Dan Janzen.

Cocytius antaeus fifth instar, Costa Rica, courtesy of Dan Janzen.

Cocytius antaeus, Collier County, Florida, courtesy of Daniel J. Marquis.

Moths emerge approximately 30 days after larvae pupate underground.

The pupa has a big tongue loop like Manduca rustica

Larvae are subject to parasitization by members of Tachinidae family.

Ben Trott sends the following images from Quintana Roo, Mexico, and writes, "Cocytius antaeus (x16). Amazingly common, its foodplant, Annona, is quite scarce, so practically every plant hosts at least one larva. I have found four larvae and two eggs on one shrub. This species has six instars and annoints before pupating.

Cocytius antaeus egg, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus first instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus second instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus third instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus fourth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus fifth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus sixth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus sixth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Cocytius antaeus, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott.

Visit Cocytius antaeus, Extremoz, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, courtesy of Francierlem Oliveira.

Cocytius antaeus final instar, Sao Paulo, Brazil,
April 16, 2016, courtesy of Pacheco Souza.

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