Madoryx plutonius dentatus
Gehlen, 1931

Madoryx plutonius dentatus courtesy of Manuel Balcazar-Lara.

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Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.


Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Dilophonotini, Burmeister, 1878
Genus: Madoryx Boisduval, 1875 ...........
Species: pluto dentatus Gehlen, 1931


Madoryx pluto dentatus flies in
Mexico and
Belize, and
probably at least as far south as Costa Rica.

I do not know exactly where the transition is between this subspecies and nominate Madoryx plutonius plutonius.

Vadim Kroutov reports subspecies dentatus as far south as Ecuador.

Madoryx plutonius dentatus, Ecuador,
courtesy of Vadim Kroutov

Madoryx plutonius dentatus male, Costa Rica, courtesy of Dan Janzen.

Madoryx plutonius dentatus, Costa-Rica, Tuis-Cartago, courtesy of Frederik Goussey.


Moths are on the wing in just about every month in Costa Rica.

Madoryx plutonius dentatus, Costa Rica, courtesy of Amy Lowell.

Amy writes, "The moth flew aboard our ship, the Sea Voyager, between Corcovado and Manuel Antonio Parks on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica."


Adults eclose, usually within three weeks, from pupae formed in flimsy cocoons spun amongst leaf litter.

Madoryx plutonius dentatus female, Costa Rica, courtesy of Dan Janzen.


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


The larva feeds on Conostegia xalapensis and has eyes and a false face as does Madoryx oiclus, but the body is more moss colored and has fine green flecking.

Larvae spin loose cocoons of yellow silk and leaves, but the cocoon is not nearly as tight as is the Madoryx oiclus cocoon or the Madoryx bubastus cocoon.

Image courtesy of Dan Janzen.

The pupa is dark chocolate brown with faint beige 1/2 moon false eyes on the real eyes. The abdominal segments 4,5,6 have posterior 2 mm dull yellow to give the 3 striking yellow rings. When the pupa is removed from its cocoon, the pupa snaps back and forth like a snake. It is an extremely active pupa. The cocoon is really just a bit of disorganized silk sticking leaves together.

Those who first published descriptions and assigned scientific names to many insects, simply chose names of biblical or mythological origin without any real descriptive qualities. Their purpose was simply to set a standard for purposes of identification by assigned name. On some occasions, names, mostly of Latin or Greek origin, were chosen to signify a particular character of the genus or of an individual species.

I do not know the origin of the genus name "Madoryx".

The species name, "pluto", is derived from the Pluto of Greek religion and mythology. Pluto is the god of the underworld, the son of Kronos and Rhea. He is also called Hades. After the fall of the Titans, Pluto and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon divided the universe, and Pluto was awarded everything underground. The subspecies name, dentatus, is indicative of the dentate nature of the curve below the forewing apex. In the nominate subspecies from South America, the curve is smooth (not dentate).

The pronunciation of scientific names is troublesome for many. The "suggestion" at the top of the page is merely a suggestion. It is based on commonly accepted English pronunciation of Greek names and/or some fairly well accepted "rules" for latinized scientific names.

The suggested pronunciations, on this page and on other pages, are primarily put forward to assist those who hear with internal ears as they read.

There are many collectors from different countries whose intonations and accents would be different.

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