Xylophanes kiefferi
Updated as per CATE Sphingidae: Panama, Colombia, Ecuador
Updated as per personal communication with Pia Oberg (Ecuador: Napo: Wildsumaco, March 1, 2011); November 30, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Vadim Kroutov (wingspans, verso images, Esmeraldas, Ecuador); February 21, 2015

Xylophanes kiefferi
zail-AH-fan-eesMkee-FER-eye or
Cadiou, 1995

Xylophanes kiefferi, Wildsumaco Lodge, Napo, Ecuador,
1400m, March 1, 2011, courtesy of Pia Oberg, id by Bill Oehlke.

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: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Macroglossini, Harris, 1839
Genus: Xylophanes Hubner [1819] ...........
Species: kiefferi Cadiou, 1995


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Xylophanes kiefferi (wingspan: males: 77-82mm; females: 92-94mm) flies in
Colombia (specimen type locality);
Panama; and
Ecuador: Esmeraldas (VK), Pichincha, Napo: Wildsumaco Lodge (PO).

Xylophanes kiefferi female, 92mm, Esmeraldas, Ecuador,
courtesy of Vadim Kroutov.

"Similar to Xylophanes aristor but more robust and outer edge of forewing straighter.

"Upperside of body deep rich brown (olive-green in Xylophanes aristor).

Forewing upperside similar to Xylophanes aristor but ground colour a deep rich brown (rather than olive-green) and first and fourth postmedian lines farther apart.

"Forewing underside similar to Xylophanes aristor but brown; basal area dark brown grey and less extensive, so that first postmedian line remains visible to the inner margin; second postmedian line heavier, sinuate and continuous, reaching the inner margin; dark marginal area closer to postmedian area, reaching the third one (represented by vein dots), delineated by a grey line that is toothed between M2 and M3 (as in Xylophanes vagliai) apical area, between costa and Rs4 beyond most distal costal dark spot, shorter, brighter yellow.

"Anal area of hindwing underside bright yellow (whitish in Xylophanes aristor)." CATE

A view of the underside of the forewings greatly helps distinguish kiefferi from other very similar species which often have the entire basal area dark grey to black.

Xylophanes kiefferi male, 77mm; female, 92mm;
verso, Esmeraldas, Ecuador, courtesy of Vadim Kroutov.

Xylophanes kiefferi male, 77mm, Esmeraldas, Ecuador,
courtesy of Vadim Kroutov.


Xylophanes kiefferi adults probably fly as multiple broods.

Xylophanes kiefferi (verso), Wildsumaco Lodge, Napo, Ecuador,
1400m, March 1, 2011, courtesy of Pia Oberg, id by Bill Oehlke.


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. Males come in to lights very readily, but females are seldom taken in that way (maybe not).


Larvae probably feed on plants of the Rubiaceae family and of the Malvaceae family.

Moths emerge approximately one-two months after larvae pupate.

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The pronunciation of scientific names is troublesome for many. The "suggestions" at the top of the page are merely suggestions. They are based on commonly accepted English pronunciation of Greek names and/or some fairly well accepted "rules" for latinized scientific names. In some cases I have anglicized the pronunciations as per more common usage.

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.

Jean Marie Cadiou writes, "When I say "Xylophanes" in English I pronounce it something like "Zailophanees", with the emphasis on the "o". The French pronounce it differently, something like "Kzeelophaness" with no emphasis, and the Germans yet in a different way..."

In Greek myth, Phanes is the golden winged Primordial Being who was hatched from the shining Cosmic Egg that was the source of the universe. He personifies light emerging from chaos.

"Xylo" is the Greek word for wood.

The specimen type for the genus Xylophanes is Xylophanes anubus. Perhaps ? when Hubner examined this species, the yellow-orange and brown tones of the forewings suggested wings of wood.

Jean Marie Cadiou writes, X. kiefferi is named after my good friend Pierre Kieffer, from Metz, France. He is a butterfly enthusiast, and gave me the first known specimen of this species. Suggested pronunciation is 'kee-fer-ai', unless you prefer to describe it as 'kee-fur-ai'."

Jean Marie's "ai" and my "eye" are pronounced the same.