Madoryx plutonius plutonius
Updated as per The Known Sphingidae of Costa Rica, November 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Jose Monzon (Guatemala); May 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Andres Urbas (near Kaw Mountains, French Guiana, March 31, 2011); April 19, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Leonardo Aguado (Aristobulo del Valle, A Cuna Piru, Misiones, Argentina, November 12/15, 2009); October 6, 2011
Updated as per "A Hawk Moths fauna of southern Maranhão state, Brazil, ... "; NEVA: Jahrgang 34 Heft 3 November 2013; via Jean Haxaire; April 5, 2014

Madoryx plutonius plutonius
magh-DOOR-icksmm ploo-TONE-ee-uhs
(Hubner, [1819]) Hemeroplanes plutonius

Madoryx plutonius, Aristobulo del Valle, A Cuna Piru, Misiones, Argentina,
November 12/15, 2009, courtesy of Leonardo Aguado, digital repair by Bill Oehlke.

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Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Dilophonotini, Burmeister, 1878
Genus: Madoryx Boisduval, 1875 ...........
Species: plutonius plutonius Cramer, 1779


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Madoryx plutonius plutonius (wingspan: 92-120mm, males considerably smaller than females) flies in
French Guiana: Kaw;
Peru: Junin (VI);
Bolivia: La Paz;
Brazil Mato Grosso; southern Maranhao;
Argentina: Misiones;
Paraguay (PS);
Costa Rica (as subspecies dentatus);
Guatemala (JM, probably as subspecies dentatus); etc.,
probably Panama and Colombia and Guyana.

Madoryx plutonius plutonius photographed in Yasuni, Ecuador, (September 6, 2002 - 11:12 PM), courtesy of Steve Graser.

Note the triangular patch capped with a dot in the median area.

Forewing tips are lighter in colour in plutonius and are also broader and less hooked than in other Madoryx species. The lower portion of the forewing outer margin is quite straight.

I do not know for sure where the transition is between nominate plutonius, which seems more South American, and subspecies dentatus which seems more Central American. Nominate plutonius lacks the projection interruption (dentatus) in the hollowed out area below the forewing apex, a character which distinguishes dentatus.


Vladimir Izersky reports a January flight in Junin, Peru. Andres Urbas reports a March 31, 2011, flight in Kaw, French Guiana.

Visit Madoryx plutonius plutonius, Coviriali, Junin, Peru, January 5, 2008, 662m, courtesy of Vladiimir Izersky.


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

Madoryx plutonius, near Kaw Mountains, French Guiana,
March 31, 2011, courtesy of Andres Urbas.


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


Notes: The images and information below are for subspecies dentatus. Nominate species would probalby be very similar. 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 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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