Manduca diffissa tropicalis
Updated as per Fauna Entomologica De Nicarauga, November 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Ian Kitching
Updated as per CATE (description); February 12, 2011
Updated as per Heteroceres de Guyane Francaise (Kaw, August, November); February, 2011
Updated as per Funet (Omai, Guyana), February, 12, 2011
Updated as per Bold Systems (Venezuela, French Guiana, Suriname, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil); February 2011

Manduca diffissa tropicalis
(Rothschild & Jordan, 1903) Protoparce

Manduca diffissa tropicalis by John Vriesi.

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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 tropicalis (Rothschild & Jordan, 1903)


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Manduca diffissa tropicalis (approx. wingspan: males: 106mm; females: 107mm) flies in
Guyana: Omai (specimen type locality);
French Guiana: Kaw;
Colombia (IK);
Bolivia: Yacuma [Yacuma]; and
Brazil: (south to Minas Gerais (IK)), (probably Para, Roraima (WO?)). It should also be in Guyana and Suriname, but as yet that is unconfirmed.

It apparently flies as far north as
Nicaragua: Esteli, Granada.

Distinguished from Manduca diffissa petuniae in having the forewing upperside darker, less yellowish. Forewing upperside with ground colour variable, some individuals distinctly more russet than others; discal area sometimes rather black, contrasting with the paler basal and posterior areas. CATE

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."


Manduca diffissa tropicalis adults probably fly in July-August and in September-October and possibly at other times.

Specimens have been taken in Kaw, French Guiana in August and November.

Manduca diffissa tropicalis French Guiana, courtesy of Stephane Vassel,
id by Jean-Marie Cadiou and Jean Haxaire.


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.


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