Manduca diffissa zischkai

Manduca diffissa zischkai
(Kernbach, 1952) Protoparce

Manduca diffissa zischkai courtesy of Jean Haxaire

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Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Sphinginae, Latreille, [1802]
Tribe: Sphingini, Latreille, 1802
Genus: Manduca Hubner, [1807] ...........
Species: diffissa zischkai (Kernbach, 1952)


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Manduca diffissa zischkai (wingspan: approximately 100-105mm) flies in
Bolivia: Cochabamba (specimen type locality) at high altitude (2600m).

Ian Kitching writes, "At present (October 2007), the subspecies situation in Manduca diffissa is rather confused. If we accept the current distributions, then you shouldn't catch the darker M. d. petuniae in Argentina, as it is only supposed to occur as far south as Mato Grosso and Goias in Brazil.

"In SE Brazil, Paraguay and presumably the Iguazu area (Argentina), it is M. d. tropicalis. Further west, in Salta and Tucuman (Argentina), it is M. d. mesosa (smaller and paler than tropicalis), and further south in Uruguay, and Buenos Aires (Argentina), it is the smaller and greyer M. d. diffissa.

"I suspect that of these, only the latter is distinct from all the former.

"Further north, there are other problems, as there is M. d. zischkai, a high elevation subspecies in Bolivia, and in east Ecuador, M. d. petuniae becomes difficult to separate from Manduca mossi in some places at high elevation.

"Maybe DNA barcoding will give us an idea as to where to start sorting this group out.

"Distinguishing the subspecies of diffissa is very tricky as it all comes down to colour, which even Rothschild and Jordan admitted was variable. Manduca diffissa petuniae is a paler brown moth in general, while Manduca diffissa tropicalis is darker, less yellowish, but these features seem to show some overlap. M. mesosa is said to be intermediate and so I am not sure I would accept any of tropicalis, mesosa or petuniae as separate subspecies, but I'll wait to see what DNA barcoding says."


Manduca diffissa zischkai adults fly


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.


Larva have been reported on .

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