Updated as per http://biological-diversity.info/sphingidae.htm (Belize), November 2007
Updated as per Fauna Entomologica De Nicarauga, November 2007
Updated as per The Known Sphingidae of Costa Rica, November 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Evan Rand: Arizona Sphingidae: Santa Cruz County (July-August); September 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Terry Stoddard (El Progresso, Guatemala, June 2015, 103mm); August 19, 2015
Updated as per personal comunication with Gernot Kunz (Rincon de la Vieja Lodge, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, June 10, 2008, 624m); March 24, 2017

Manduca occulta
(Rothschild and Jordan, 1903) Protoparce
Occult Sphinx

Manduca occulta, Jalisco, Mexico, July 2003, courtesy of Jean Haxaire copyright.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke. 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: occulta Rothschild & Jordan, 1903


Th Occult Sphinx, Manduca occulta (Wing span: 4 1/8 - 4 3/8 inches (10.3 - 12.0 cm)), flies from
Panama; north through Central America and
Belize: Cayo, Toledo;
Guatemala: Izabal (JM); El Progresso (TS);
Nicaragua: Madriz, Jinotega, Matagalpa, Chinandega, Managua, Masaya, Granada, Chontales, Rio San Juan;
Costa Rica: Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Lemon, Carthage, Alajuela, Heredia, San Jose;
to southern Arizona, and rarely to southern Florida.

The specimen type locality is Vera Cruz, Mexico.

Manduca occulta can be differentiated from M. sexta which has 2/3 black, 1/3 white checkering on the forewing, while occulta has equal amounts of black and white checkering.

Manduca occulta male courtesy of Dan Janzen.

Manduca occulta, Nicaragua, courtesy of Michel Laguerre, id by Jean Haxaire.


Manduca occulta adults fly as strays into Florida in September. In Costa Rica moths fly as a single generation after the onset of the rainy season in May and June.

In Nicaragua, Michel Laguerre reports them on the wing in July-August and October.

Evan Rand reports them in southern Arizona: Santa Cruz county, in July and early August.

Manduca occulta, California Gulch, Atascola Mtns., Santa Cruz Co., AZ,
July 21, 2010, 3800 ft, courtesy of Evan Rand.

Terry Stoddard reports a June flight in Guatemala.

Manduca occulta Hacienda La Vega, 10km N El Rancho Jct, El Progresso, Guatemala,
June 11, 2015, 300m, 103mm, courtesy of Terry Stoddard, id by Bill Oehlke.


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

Manduca occulta female courtesy of Dan Janzen.


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

Manduca occulta male, Rincon de la Vieja Lodge, Guanacaste, Costa Rica,
June 10, 2008, 624m, courtesy of Gernot Kunz


Larvae feed on plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae): Cestrum glanduliferum, Cestrum racemosum, Solanum accrescens and Solanum hazenii are used in Costa Rica.

Larvae look much like Manduca dilucida.

The tongue loop is long like that of a small Manduca rustica.

Larvae are subject to parasitization by Drino rhoeo and Drino piceiventris of the Tachinidae family and by Microplitis espinachi and Meteorus congregatus of the Braconidae family.

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