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

Manduca diffissa diffissa
(Butler, 1871)

Manduca diffissa diffissa, October 31, 2007, Buenos Aires, Argentina,
Ezequiel Osvaldo Núñez Bustos, id by Ian Kitching.

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


Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Sphinginae, Latreille, [1802]
Tribe: Sphingini, Latreille, 1802
Genus: Manduca Hubner, 1807 ...........
Species: diffissa diffissa Butler, 1871


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Manduca diffissa diffissa flies in
Argentina (specimen type locality): Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Corrientes, Entre Rios, Santa Fe Antiago del Estero. In Misiones, Argentina, it is replaced by subspecies petuniae. It is replaced by subspecies mesosa in Catamarca, parts of Cordoba, Chaco, Formosa, Jujuy, Los Rios, Mendoza, Salta, San Juan, San Luis and Tucuman, Argentina. I suspect in Uruguay, there would be the presence of subspecies petuniae.

Manduca diffissa diffissa, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 920mm
courtesy of Ezequiel Osvaldo Núñez Bustos, id by Ian Kitching.

Ian Kitching writes, "At present (October 2007), the subspecies situation in Manduca diffissa is rather confused.

"Manduca diffissa diffissa is a small grey subspecies from SE Argentina and Uruguay. It might be a separate/distinct species? Rothschild & Jordan listed M. d. diffissa from Paraguay but I suspect these would be better placed as M. d. petuniae (though I have not checked closely).

"Manduca diffissa petuniae is generally (but not always) a pale brown form from SE Brazil as far north as Minas Gerais (and probably in the Iguazu, Argentina area).

"Manduca diffissa tropicalis is a larger, darker form from Minas Gerais to Colombia. However, to quote R&J: 'The ground colour of the forewing is, however, variable, some individuals being decidedly more russet than others, though not so pale as petuniae'."

"Manduca diffissa mesosa is a form from Salta and Tucuman in northern Argentina (and probably southern Bolivia) that is intermediate between tropicalis and petuniae(!).

"Manduca diffissa zischkai is a high altitude subspecies from Bolivia that may be a separate species.

"Manduca diffissa ssp in eastern Ecuador is decidedly greenish, and the distinction between this and Manduca mossi is difficult to determine and is under study by Jean Haxaire (it was being studied by Jean-Marie Cadiou and me until his untimely passing).

"I doubt that the distinction between mesosa, petuniae and tropicalis will hold, but maybe DNA barcoding will suggest how things should be organized." CATE: "A small pale southern form. Forewing upperside with postdiscal line strongly marked, but the white, submarginal zigzag line is not prominent, generally barely indicated; apart from the postdiscal, all lines sometimes obsolescent."

Due to weak am line, and quite pale area along inner margin, I (Bill Oehlke) feel the above specimen is more likely Manduca diffissa diffissa.


Manduca diffissa diffissa adults fly in March (EB) and possibly in other months.


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


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


Larvae have been reported on Brugmansia arborea, Cestrum nocturnum, Cestrum parquii (EB), Lycopersicon esculentum, Nicotiana alata, Nicotiana glauca, Nicotiana tabacum, Solanum paniculatum and Solanum tuberosum.

Manduca diffissa diffissa larva, Buenos Aires, Argentina,
courtesy of Ezequiel Osvaldo Núñez Bustos,
Martín García Island, on the Río de la Plata and near Uruguay,
id by Ian Kitching.

Manduca diffissa diffissa pupa, Argentina, courtesy of Ezequiel Osvaldo Núñez Bustos.

Ezequiel reports this species feeds on Green Cestrum (Cestrum parquii) of the Solanaceae family.

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Manduca diffissa diffissa by John Vriesi.