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 The Hawk Moths of the North America, 2007, James P. Tuttle (Sphinx to Lintneria); April 2009

Lintneria lugens
(Walker, 1856) Sphinx

Lintneria lugens, Nicaragua, MAES J.M.
Sphingidae & Saturniidae of Nicaragua CD ROM.

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: Smerinthinae, Grote & Robinson, 1865
Tribe: Sphingini, Latreille, 1802
Genus: Lintneria Butler, 1876 ...........
Species: lugens Walker, 1856


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Lintneria lugens flies in
Mexico, the specimen type locality: Michoacan; Jalisoco; Oaxaca and
Honduras and

Ian Kitching reports that L. istar, separatus, geminus, lugens and L. pseudostigmatica have all been confirmed from Michoacan, Mexico.

In his The Hawk Moths of North America, 2007, James P. Tuttle has assigned all the Sphinx genus species from Mexico south throughout South American to Lintneria, Butler, 1876, based on consistent differences in wing characters and significant larval differences.


Lintneria lugens adults probably fly as a single brood from July-September.


Pupae 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 nectar at a variety of flowers.


Under natural conditions larvae feed exclusively on the leaves of the shrub Wigandia urens (Ruiz & Pavón) of the Hydrophyllaceae family. There are two types of leaves of W. urens:
"a) smooth leaves without urticant trichomes and lower concentrations of N, P and water, and
b) bristly leaves with urticant trichomes and higher concentrations of N, P and water.

Third instar larvae of S. lugens were fed experimentally with these two types of leaves of W. urens to know the effect of trichomes and nutritional quality on the development of this insect. Larvae treated with bristly leaves had a higher fresh weight from 11 to 21 days, and from 27 to 33 days than those treated with smooth leaves.

Fourth instar duration was shorter in larvae fed with bristly leaves. However, larvae weights in the fourth, fifth instars and prepupa were similar. Differences found in the growth and development of S. lugens can be correlated with higher concentrations of N, P and water of bristly leaves. "

Larvae are also reported to feed on Andromeda in the Ericaceae family, Forestiera pubescens in the Oleaceae family, and Salvia azurea and Salvia lanceolata in the Labiatae family.

Lintneria fifth instar, Tlalpujaha, Michoacan, Mexico,
possibly L. smithi (BO), more likely L. lugens (JH), 2012, 2500m, courtesy of Juan Carlos Garcia.

Lintneria fourth or fifth instar, Tlalpujaha, Michoacan, Mexico,
possibly L. smithi (BO), more likely L. lugens (JH), 2012, 2500m, courtesy of Juan Carlos Garcia.

Jean Haxaire and Ian Kitching have indicated to me that S. smithi populations in Mexico, as of May 21, 2015, are thought to be limited to northern Mexico, suggesting that it is much more likely the larvae from Michoacan, are probably something other than smithi, and by process of elimination, L. lugens seems the best choice.

Please visit my special request for images of Lintneria species larvae at Lintneria larvae, and help if you can.

It is anticipated that the Lintneria larvae will most often be encountered on Lamiaceae: Salvia (Sage), Mentha (Mints), Monarda (Beebalm) and Hyptis (Bushmints); Verbenaceae: Verbena and Lantana camara (shrub verbenas or lantanas).

Although they may be encountered feeding during daylight hours, one is even more likely to discover them feeding in the evening or after dark.

Two of the greatest clues for discovering larvae are stripped foliage and droppings beneath the plant. You might be quite surprised at what will turn up in the evening or after dark in a flashlight assisted search.

It is believed that all "Lintneria larvae will exhibit "a fleshy thoracic dorsal "horn" in the first 4 instars (unique in the Sphingidae of the world to my knowledge) which is replaced by a thoracic dorsal "hump" with a large black patch in the 5th instar." J.A. Tuttle.

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